Gephydrophobia, the fear of bridges, may seem a little silly to some; however, it becomes much more relatable after witnessing a multi-car pileup on the Wilson, or a traumatizing vehicle free fall off the Bay Bridge. At that point, you may understand why many of the largest bridges in the United States now provide a driver service for those who are too scared to drive themselves. You however, do not need to be one of those people.
Bridges themselves are not scary; it is the accidents that may happen on them that are scary. However, with the proper knowledge of bridge risks, driving techniques, and safety tips, you will hopefully be able to suspend that fear.
Bridge accidents can be extremely dangerous, especially if they cause you and your car to become submerged in water. Knowing these five safety tips could help save your life:
- Keep at least two car lengths between you and the car in front of you to avoid a chain reaction collision.
- If possible, try to drive in the innermost lanes to avoid barriers. If you become pinned in the car—if safe to do so—move to the opposite side, away from the barrier. This will allow rescue teams to get to you more easily.
- If your car is forced off a bridge into water, try not to panic. Allow the water to gradually fill the car to equalize pressure. During this time, make sure everyone in the car is conscious and unrestrained. Once the car is submerged, open the doors or windows, or kick out the windshield in order to escape the vehicle, and then swim to the surface.
- Limit lane changes on bridges to as few as possible or none at all. Changing lanes can cause confusion and if you accidentally cut someone off, there is nowhere for him to go
- Always be aware of your surroundings! Make sure you have a full 360 degree view surrounding your vehicle at all times and obey all traffic laws including using your blinker to avoid surprising those around you.
No matter where you are going, or what route you choose to take, safety should always be your number one priority. Follow the basic rules of the road, drive defensively, and be alert to potential warning signs of danger to help avoid a serious or deadly accident.
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