The Rules Behind Why Trains Blow Their Horns

The noise can be quite unnerving making wonder whether it's really necessary.
Loukia Papadopoulos

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Have you ever heard a train horn before? They are kind of hard to miss. In fact, these blasts can be so loud and unnerving that you question whether they are really necessary. After all, doesn't an oncoming train make enough noise on its own to be a warning in and of itself?

The answer to that question is a clear no as it turns out that trains are required by law to blow their horns. In the U.S., the Federal Railroad Administration requires that trains blow their horns at each grade crossing, regardless of whether there’s a valid reason such as an obstruction.

This is to ensure no accidents occur. But trains don't just blow their horns as a warning, they also blow them as a communication code. Interesting right?

Train horns weren't always regulated. In fact, their rules are pretty new. In 2005, for example, the United States Federal Railroad Administration published the most recent rule on regulating the sounding of train horns.

Interestingly enough these rules came after bans in places such as Florida resulted in doubling train accidents. Today, all countries have their own rules and regulations for train horns that include when they should be quiet. Watch our video to find out more.

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