Drivers reminded to keep safe near railways

With train traffic across Australia set to pick up in the busy end-of-year period, the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA) is urging drivers and pedestrians to keep safe around railways.

Diesel trains are again up and running on South Australia's Noarlunga line as of last Sunday, and Charles Mountain, RAA senior manager for road safety, said railway accidents have historically been a problem.

"From January 2002 to December 2011 there have been 25 rail fatalities and 74 serious injuries in South Australia. During this same period there have been 70 road vehicle crashes at level crossings," Mr Mountain said in a November 29 statement.

These statistics should be well heeded by every fleet manager in Australia, as staff safety is one of the highest priorities.

Mr Mountain and the RAA recommended some measures to take for fleet drivers who had to encounter railways as part of their route.

Firstly, it is important to prepare to stop as soon as the lights at level crossings start to flash, even if the boom gates have not started to lower. Drivers should make sure there is enough room for their entire car on the other side of the tracks before they even start crossing.

According to Mr Mountain, this was because it can take a while for a heavy train to come to a complete halt even if the operator spots a vehicle on the tracks.

He added that one of the best steps to take was to try and modify travel routes to avoid railway tracks where possible.

"It is important to be patient when waiting for trains, especially freight trains as sometimes they are up to 1.8km long and can take a while to pass," he explained.

"If you regularly travel a route where you encounter delays due to trains, try to rearrange your journey if possible to avoid them."