Sunday, May 23, 2010


I learned a new word today.

The wedding that Cardgrrl and I went to yesterday was near Easton, Maryland, at a home on an estuary of Chesapeake Bay. That meant that we had to drive over The Bridge. I had probably seen and heard of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge at some point, but it never stuck with me in the way that, say, the Golden Gate Bridge does. So as we approached it, I had no idea how long or high the thing was. As bridges go, this is one heck of an imposing monster. (Read all about it here, and where it stands in the world list of longest bridges here.)

Cardgrrl told me about a friend who has significant anxiety crossing bridges, and said that this one causes the most problems of all for her, due to its length and height. Moreover, she told me that she had read an article in the Washington Post about the number of drivers that panic, freeze up, and hence cause traffic snarls on this particular bridge. I had never heard of such a thing. I get a bit tense driving over bridges where the sides appear (mostly erroneously, I'm sure) to be not quite up to the task of preventing one's car from going over the edge should one have a tire blowout, or get pushed over by another driver changing lanes forcibly at an inopportune moment, or whatever. But it's nothing like a debilitating fear. Before today I don't think I had heard of that subset of people for whom this is a serious problem.

So when we got back home, I looked it up. Here are a few articles on the phenomenon generally, all of them tied at least in part to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge specifically:

There's my completely non-poker-related bit of public service/education done for the day: gephyrophobia. You're welcome.


bastinptc said...

There's a bridge between RI and CT (I seem to remember) that is shorter but oh so high that is terrifying. (Yeah, I have bridge dreams.) The one over the Ches. Bay used to be two-lane when I lived in MD. Big fun.

Scott said...

They have that drive over program for the local bridge I use, the Sunshine Skyway .
After this accident, you can see why the program would be needed.

Karl said...

Last time I was back East visiting my wife's family, her uncle took us out in his boat on the Chesapeake. We went under that bridge and it was massive. I don't think we drove over it at any point, though.

--S said...

I've been over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge during a rainstorm. I'd call it dicey. I, personally, had more issues crossing the Seven Mile Bridge in Florida during a high wind...

Grange95 said...

I in fact learned something new and rather interesting today. Thank you.

Now, what's it called when you have a fear of chasing an OESFD while playing poker on a bridge? Just curious.