Take extreme care when driving over a railway level crossing

Obey the warning signs and look carefully in both directions for trains. Listen, be aware and pay careful attention to your surroundings. Always ensure there is space on the other side of the crossing for your vehicle.

When approaching a level crossing where lights and bells are operating, or barrier arms are lowered or have started to come down, you must:

  1. stop your car
  2. wait for the train to pass
  3. wait for the lights to stop flashing and the barrier arms to lift before entering the crossing
At level crossings controlled by either ‘Give Way’ or Stop signs alone, you must:
  • slow down, and be prepared to stop
  • if there is a ‘Stop’ sign, you must stop your vehicle completely look both ways up and down the tracks to check the railway lines are clear
  • wait for any approaching train to pass before crossing and where there is more than one track, look again for trains coming in the opposite direction. Cross only when the railway lines are clear of trains
  • Never overtake a vehicle that has stopped for a train or try to race a train over the crossing – trains are usually travelling faster than you think.

Some vehicles, such as those carrying dangerous goods and passenger service vehicles (eg buses) are legally required to stop at a level crossing, unless automatic alarms are installed.

Always take care when traveling behind these vehicles. For further information on safe driving behaviour at level crossings, see the New Zealand Road Code.

Learning to drive

Check out this free website and learning tool designed by the NZ Transport Agency and ACC to help young people become confident, capable drivers – https://drive.govt.nz/.

  • This video produced by the NZ Transport Agency looks at when you need to stop at a level crossing as it can be very hard to judge the speed and distance of a train.