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Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety: Special Situations

Special Precautions

Long rig? Low rig? Permitted load? Special situations require special precautions

If you are operating a vehicle with a long wheelbase, a low ground clearance, or that requires a special weights and dimensions permit, it is especially important that you and your motor carrier take special precautions to ensure that your rig and its cargo can safely traverse highway-rail grade crossings


The Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association, a transportation industry group, worked in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance to develop a handbook on Pilot/Escort Vehicle Operators Best Practices Guidelines (also available in printable PDF format). The Canadian National Railway also provides guidance for special vehicles.

State Requirements

Many States require railroads to be notified in advance of transporting a slow-moving or low-clearance load across railroad tracks.

  • Summary of States' Requirements (PDF)
  • Federal Railroad Administration Compilation of State Laws and Regulations Affecting Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

If your route includes private crossings, it is important to coordinate with the landowner and the railroad to ensure that the proper contacts have been made. If those contacts had been made, the serious grade-crossing collision that occurred in 2002 near Intercession City, Florida might have been prevented.