How to use level crossings safely: pedestrians

This School Transport Safety Week we’re urging parents, guardians and teachers to encourage safety on the railway.

Many children will use level crossings on their way to and from school and it’s crucial they know how to use them.

As pedestrians we need to:

  • Concentrate – it’s easy to get distracted, especially by phones, music and conversation.
  • Stop, look and listen. Follow signs and instructions.
  • Check both ways before crossing – if there is a train coming, don’t cross.
  • Understand the warnings (lights, barriers, alarms). 
  • Cross quickly, keeping children close and dogs on a lead.

Watch this video to find out how Lucy’s life was changed for ever after a tragic incident at a level crossing:

We also need to understand the potential dangers:


It can be tempting to run over the crossing or jump the barriers rather than wait for a train to pass. Don’t do it – you’re putting lives at risk.


Don’t assume there is only one train or use previous experience to guess when the train is coming. Trains can come from either direction at any time.


If your dog escapes your control and runs onto the railway, don’t be tempted to run after it.


It’s easy to get distracted, especially by phones and music. If you’re in a group don’t assume that someone else is looking out for you.

Understanding the safety systems used at level crossings

  • Level crossings enable us to cross the railway safely. Each is unique with differences in how often trains run, and the local geography. It’s particularly useful to understand the safety systems used at crossings:

Stop, look, listen sign

  • This sign indicates that we need to be extra vigilant – the crossing may not have a visual or audible warning.

Read more:

Level crossing safety

The history of level crossings

Our level crossings safety campaign for drivers

Spotlight on…level crossings

Why does Network Rail close level crossings?