Fear the bridge?


This had to be the most hilarious news story of the year. It ran on WJZ-TV a while back. Did you see it?


Gregory Kane

It was a story about drivers that have a morbid fear of crossing bridges, in general, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, in particular.

Now I don’t want to make light of those people that have bona fide phobias, about bridges or anything else.

If you have a fear of heights, I can see where you might be leery of crossing either the Bay Bridge or the Key Bridge in South Baltimore.

However, I’ve seen how Maryland drivers drive. And if that doesn’t scare you senseless, I really don’t know what can.

That’s why I’ve never been afraid of driving across either the Bay Bridge or the Key Bridge. I barely even see the bridges. I scarcely notice how high above the water I am, or if the bridges might be swaying in the wind.

(Fear of the bridge swaying in the wind was one of the chief fear factors cited in the WJZ-TV report. Here’s how I handle that: if the winds are blowing strongly enough to sway a bridge, I don’t cross the bridge. Can I be the ONLY person that believes inclement weather is simply God’s way of telling you to stay in the house?)

Here’s what I do notice when I drive across a bridge:

  1. Who’s doing the speeding?
  2. Who’s doing the tailgating?
  3. Who’s making the reckless lane changes without so much as even a hint of signaling?

Believe me, there are enough Maryland drivers zooming across bridges recklessly and carelessly that I don’t have time to even notice I’m on a bridge. I figure I have to survive Maryland drivers— probably the worst in the country, except for New Jerseyites, who are in a class by themselves— not survive the bridge.

It took me a while to realize that, for way too many Maryland drivers, every day is “Drive Like An Idiot Day.” On the especially bad days, I figure those drivers have upped the ante.

They’re celebrating “Go Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty In Driving Like An Idiot Day.”

When the drivers aren’t behaving too badly— which means the really awful ones must have taken the day off for some reason— there are other annoyances.

What’s the definition of the word “sidewalk”?

I consulted several online dictionaries, and the consensus seems to be, “a usually paved walk for pedestrians at the side of the street.”

This meaning is totally lost on the average Balti-moron. On any given day, people can be found loping in the middle of the streets, apparently oblivious to cars that have to get by.

One night on my way to the emergency room at Hopkins Hospital I tried to make a turn from one side street to another.

Couldn’t do it. There was a woman in the street, PUSHING A STROLLER. I couldn’t make the turn without running into her.

So I had to wait until she decided to do what she should have done in the first place: move the stroller on to the SIDEWALK and go about her business.

Later, after driving down Park Heights and hanging a left on Cold Spring Lane, I ran into a bunch of eight to 10 cretins, all strolling along Cold Spring Lane.

Now it’s bad enough if pedestrians want to walk in streets that are side streets, where traffic is often light.

But isn’t Cold Spring Lane a main thoroughfare with usually heavy traffic?

When it comes to traffic, Baltimore has the worst of everything:

  1. Dangerous dirt-bike riders.
  2. Stupid riders of regular bikes.
  3. Stupid, dangerous motorists.
  4. Idiotic pedestrians.

My son-in-law, before he moved to Berkeley, California, gave up driving when he still lived in Maryland.

I don’t blame him. Nothing will cure you of the itch for driving than one day spent on Maryland’s roads