There are almost two “near misses” at level crossings around Ireland every week, latest figures show.
A study by Irish Rail of incidents last year showed 89 near collisions involving trains and people, cars or property.
Twenty of them were classified as “category one” incidents – the most serious level, where the train driver is forced into an emergency stop to prevent a crash.
Transport chiefs have warned the consequences on each occasion could have been catastrophic.
Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, urge extreme caution when using level crossings, particularly unmanned crossings.
“Trains are high-powered, high speed vehicles and in the event of a collision, the consequences for a car, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian could be catastrophic,” she said.
“The rule of thumb is to always expect a train.
“Failure to treat level crossings with due care and attention could have serious or fatal consequences.”
In one incident last year, a pedestrian who had been drinking ignored level crossing warning signs to walk on to the tracks as a train approached.
In another case in Dublin, a woman pushing a pram was hit by the level crossing barrier as it closed, narrowly avoiding a potentially much more serious incident.
There are 149 unattended level crossings on roads around the country.
As part of International Level Crossing Awareness Day, the RSA, Irish Rail and the Commission for Railway Regulation launched a new safety campaign.
Don Cunningham, of Irish Rail, warned people not to take any risks at level crossings.
“In one year alone, there were almost 90 ‘near misses’ at level crossings around the country,” he said.
“These incidents could have had very serious consequences for the person involved, the train and its passengers, and other road-users.”