What Does the Crossbuck Sign Mean?

passive railgrade crossing - Photo by Andrew Filer-

Common Question on the DMV Test

A Crossbuck sign at a railroad crossing has the same meaning as a:

A. Speed Limit sign
B. Stop sign
C. Yield sign

Do you know the answer?

The Warning Sign and the Crossbuck Sign

You cannot be too careful when approaching a highway-rail intersection. The circular warning sign is located ahead of the crossing. It indicates that you should slow down, look, and listen.

At the railroad crossing you will see the white crossbuck sign. It is a regulatory sign that has the same meaning as a yield sign. If a train is approaching, you must yield the right-of-way.

Railgrade crossing signs an their locations

Trains Can’t Stop Quickly

Remember, trains always have the right-of-way. They cannot swerve, stop quickly, or change directions to avoid a collision.

Passive Rail Grade Crossings

A passive crossing is a crossing with no signals or gates that stop you if a train is approaching. You will often just see the Crossbuck sign and an indication of the number of tracks (if more than one).

Research shows that many road users don’t understand the regulatory meaning of the Crossbuck sign. This is why you will see additional signs at passive crossings in the future.

By 2019, all passive crossings will have either an additional yield sign or a stop sign. Crossings that require a stop probably have the additional stop sign already, but yield signs are not that common. Expect to see more of them in a near future.

Yield or Stop sign with the Crossbuck sign - by Xzelenz Media

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

The text in the National Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) now reads: “a YIELD sign shall be the default traffic control device for Crossbuck Assemblies on all highway approaches to passive grade crossings unless an engineering study performed by the regulatory agency or highway authority having jurisdiction over the roadway approach determines that a STOP sign is appropriate.

When You Must Stop

Even if there isn’t a stop sign at a crossing, you must come to a full stop at a crossing if a train is approaching and is close enough to be a hazard.

You must also come to a full stop if a flag person signals you to stop, if red lights are flashing, or if a crossing gate is closed. You stop at least 15 feet (about a car’s length) from the nearest rail. Driving around a gate that is not fully up is illegal, even if red lights have stopped flashing.

Remember, some vehicles are required to stop at all crossings. These vehicles include passenger buses, school buses, and vehicles carrying hazardous loads.

Photo Passive Crossing by: Andrew Filer

Stop signs and yield signs at crossings by Xzelenz Media.

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