If you have bridge phobia (a.k.a. gephyrophobia), you suffer from a persistent fear of driving over bridges. Bridges are often the only passages across rivers and other waterways. Sometimes they’re the main traffic arteries of coastal cities. Fear of bridges can make your world feel smaller, imprisoning you within your neighbourhood or town.
Your bridge phobia may take different forms. Perhaps you’re afraid of the height of a particular bridge in your area. Or you may have problems with the openness, of not being able to see the other side. Maybe the fast moving traffic is hard for you. You may even fear you’ll panic, pass out, and drive off the edge of a bridge.
But you can learn to soothe your bridge phobia. Just use the tips below. It’s easier than you think!
Here are 9 tips to help you calm your fear of driving over bridges
- Plan your route well in advance: This eliminates the unpleasant surprise of coming upon a bridge unexpectedly. Know where any bridges on your route are BEFORE you drive, and know when you’ll be coming up to one.
- Have some “me” time before you go: Take time out for yourself before your journey. Spend it doing anything you find pleasurable and relaxing. You can listen to music, take a bath, have your favorite snack, a refreshing walk – anything that soothes and nourishes your soul. You’re about to do something hard. Give yourself something nice beforehand.
- Visualize being successful: One of the ways athletes train for success is by visualizing the perfect pass, or shot, or golf swing before they take it.Studies have shown that imagining yourself accomplishing a task successfully greatly increases the likelihood you will be successful. See yourself crossing the bridge and getting safely to the other side. This will make it easier to actually do it.
- Ask a friend to accompany you: Driving over bridges may be easier if you don’t do it alone. Ask someone you trust to come with you, or at least talk with you on speakerphone when you’re on a bridge. This helps keep your mind off your fear and on the present moment.
- Pull over right before crossing: If possible, pull over before driving over bridges. Take a few deep breaths and once again visualize driving across successfully.Millions of people do it every day. You can too.
- Focus on what’s right in front of you: While on the bridge, try narrowing your field of visual focus. Don’t look up or off to the sides. Keep your eyes right on the licence plate of the vehicle in front of you or fixed on a stationary object such as a street sign.
- Note the halfway mark: Mentally divide the bridge up into at least 2 sections. Notice when you reach one of the section marks, especially the halfway point. It’s easier to tackle a bridge in portions instead of all at once. When you reach the halfway point, say out loud, “I’m at the halfway point.”
- Put on your favorite music: Playing music while driving is very helpful. It helps distract your mind from fear. If possible, roll down your car windows to help you feel even more relaxed.
- Congratulate yourself on the other side: Yeah, you did it! You crossed the bridge! Take note of your success and that you arrived safely and unharmed. Now would be another great time to give yourself something nice as a reward.
You CAN learn how to calm your fear of driving over bridges. It takes practice, but it’s very doable. Use the tips above every time you experience bridge phobia. It gets easier the more you do it. I promise!