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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series


Advance Warning signs

Round yellow Advance Warning sign

The round black-on-yellow warning sign is placed ahead of a public highway-rail intersection. The Advance Warning sign tells you to slow down, look and listen for the train, and be prepared to stop at the tracks if a train is coming.

Pavement Markings

Pavement markings mean the same as the Advance Warning sign. They consist of an “X” with the letters “RR” and a no-passing marking on two-lane roads.

There is also a NO PASSING ZONE sign on two-lane roads. There may be a white Stop Line painted on the pavement before the railroad tracks. The front of the school bus must remain behind this line while stopped at the crossing.

Parallel Track signs

These signs are diamond-shaped with black illustrations showing railroad tracks parallel to the highway. These signs warn drivers who are making a turn that there is a highway-rail intersection immediately after the turn.

Crossbuck sign

This sign marks the grade crossing. It requires you to yield the right-of-way to the train. If there is no white line painted on the pavement, you must stop the bus before the Crossbuck sign.

NEVER attempt to go around the gates.

When the red lights are flashing, a train is present. Even if the red lights continue to flash and no train appears, do not cross. Call your dispatcher or the police. There may be an 800 number posted at the crossing to call for help. If there is a flagman or police officer directing traffic, obey that person. You can cross the tracks if that person says that it is okay.

When the gates are down, it means a train is present and the road is closed. It is unsafe and illegal to cross. If the gates begin to come down as you begin to cross, keep going even if it means you will break the gate.

Other Signs

STOP sign

A STOP sign means the same as it does at a highway intersection. Stop, look, and listen for the train. Proceed when it is safe to do so.

Multiple tracks

When there is more than one set of tracks at a crossing, there is a sign beneath the crossbuck with a number indicating how many tracks are present. Watch for additional trains coming from either direction.


This sign may be posted on the right side of the road or the far side of the tracks. When you stop, be sure that the front (or the rear) of the bus is at least 15 feet from the tracks.


There are two kinds of EXEMPT signs:

  • A sign (below the crossbuck) with white background and black letters that says EXEMPT
  • A sign (below the advance warning sign) with yellow background and black letters that says EXEMPT.

An EXEMPT sign means that the crossing has been abandoned or its use discontinued. Follow your local procedures about stopping.


In some states, this sign may be posted at a crossing that has been abandoned or its use discontinued. Follow your local procedures about stopping.

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