What should you do if the warning sounds while on a level crossing?

By Alicia Jarvis
Updated on July 30, 2021


What should you do if the amber lights come on while you’re driving over a level crossing? 

Keep going and clear the crossing – Continue on; don’t come to a stop at the crossing. If you hear the warning sound and see the amber lights as you approach the crossing, you must stop unless it is unsafe to do so. You must stop if you see red flashing lights and hear an auditory warning.


Automatic barriers

An approaching train is signalled by a continuous amber light followed by twin flashing red lights. Once the lights turn on, an audible alarm will sound to warn pedestrians. You MUST follow the light signals. Don’t:

  • Drive onto the crossing after the lights show 
  • Zigzag around closing barriers
  • If the amber light or audible alarm begins to flash, stop on the crossing; otherwise, continue if you are already on the crossing.

If the train passes and the red lights continue to flash or the tone of the audible alarm changes, you must wait because another train is approaching. Stop at no-light crossings when the gates or barriers begin to close.


Level crossing does and don’ts

The road crosses railway lines at a level crossing. Take caution when approaching and crossing. Never:

  • Drive onto the crossing unless the road on the other side is clear, or drive over it’ nose to tail’ with another car.
  • Stop at or near the crossing.
  • Park near the crossing.

The majority of crossings have complete or half barriers, however some do not have any gates or barriers at all.

If you come to a stop at a level crossing and your wait is going to be more than a few minutes, consider turning off your engine to save fuel and reduce pollution.


Railway telephones 

If there is a phone, you MUST utilise it to contact the signal operator and obtain permission to cross if you are:

  • Driving a big, slow-moving, or low-ground-clearance vehicle.
  • Herding animals.

Remember to call the signal operator again once you’ve passed through the crossing.