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Funded by the Railway Association of Canada and Transport Canada since 1981, Operation Lifesaver is an important public education program dedicated to improving rail safety in Canada.

Its mission is to prevent rail crossing and trespassing incidents that result in needless loss of life and injuries. Each year, more than a hundred Canadians suffer serious injuries or die due to trespassing or taking chances at railway crossings.

Operation Lifesaver’s goal is to create safety-conscious attitudes toward railways, promote safe driving skills, and encourage Canadians to take railway signs and warnings seriously, which is not always the case amongst snowmobilers.

Operation Lifesaver Canada wants to remind you that we all have a part to play when it comes to preventing tragedies on railway tracks and property.

Let’s work together to make this winter a safe one by learning—and living by—these simple rules:

• Keep Off Railway Property and Equipment: Railway yards, tunnels, bridges and equipment are all private property. If you’re caught trespassing on them, you could be fined up to $50,000—or worse, you could lose a limb or your life.

• Obey All Railway Signs and Signals: Warning signals and signs are there for a reason, to help save lives. So, obey them!

• Never Go Around a Lowered Railway Crossing Gate: An activated gate means trains are coming.

• Never Try to Beat a Train: Trains are much faster than you think. They are also unable to stop quickly enough to save you.

• Only Use Designated Railway Crossings: Trying to cross tracks anywhere else could be deadly.

• Stay Off the Tracks: Never walk, cycle or drive on or along railway tracks—and never use them as a shortcut or a recreational path.

For snowmobilers, here are some other important tips to remember:

• Stop. Look. Listen. Whenever you approach a rail crossing on your snowmobile, be sure to come to a complete stop. Look both ways carefully and also listen for the sound of an oncoming train. Operation Lifesaver even recommends turning your sled off and removing your helmet to be extra sure. It may seem like a cumbersome routine, but your life and safety are worth the few extra seconds this takes.

• Take extra care at night and when it’s snowing. You don’t get a second chance with an oncoming train so when visibility is reduced, take extra precaution.

• Don’t ride alongside tracks. Trains can overhang the rail line significantly and can also kick up a lot of snow dust, reducing visibility.

• Remember; younger riders are watching and learning from your behaviour. Obey the rules and so will they.

Visit operationlifesaver.ca for more information.

Matt Lester
Matt Lester
Matt Lester is an Account Manager for Dirt Trax TV. He is also a Contributing Editor and Guest Correspondent on the show focusing on tourism & adventure segments.

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