California Vehicle Code 22451 discusses the necessary space vehicles and pedestrians must keep from railroad tracks when stopping.
When a visible electric or mechanical signal device, or a flagman, is present at the railroad crossing and it signals that a train is approaching, all vehicles and pedestrians must stop at least 15 feet away from the nearest rail.
Vehicles and pedestrians must also stay 15 feet from the rail anytime a train is approaching even if the crossing is not guided by a signal or flagman. In this situation,the driver or pedestrian must exercise utmost safety by looking for an approaching train or car, and by listening for an audible signal. Because trains travel at extremely high speeds, keeping the 15 feet distance from the rail until the train passes is the best way to avoid an immediate hazard.
If a railroad crossing is equipped with a signal device of any kind, all pedestrians and vehicles that wish to cross are subject to stopping the required distance from the rail until the train passes and the signal ends. It is illegal and dangerous to attempt to proceed through or under any railroad or rail transit crossing gate when the gate is closed and warning of an approaching train.
Respect the train and the space required for safe passing.
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