Program assists drivers with a fear of bridges

Houstonians know all about commuting, and most of us go through ours without too much thought.

But not gephyrophobiacs—people who suffer from the fear of bridges.

“I don’t dislike all bridges. I just pretty much have a problem with this bridge,” Jill Sheridan says.

Imagine how they feel driving over the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It's just over two miles long, with eight lanes. It’s about a half mile shorter but equally as wide as Houston Ship Channel's Fred Hartman Bridge. There's no shoulder and a slight curve in the middle.

For those afraid to make the drive, the Delaware River & Bay Authority actually has an escort program to offer drivers a free and safe way to cross without getting out of their own car.

“If you’re not sure or you have any doubt at all, we have areas on both sides of the bridges for you to pull over call #DRBA and rings right to our dispatch center,” says Sgt. Thomas Nichols.

Roughly 400 people use the service yearly to cross.

Psychologists say there can be a risk in a program like this

“Every time that somebody would pull off to the side of the road and be driven… the mind is learning that that was a rational or justifiable fear,” psychologist Dr. Keith Ablow says.

But officers aren’t willing to chance people's safety.

“Sometimes they think they have the nerve and we kinda suggest that they don’t do that in case of an anxiety attack,” Denise Wasson said.

“These people do me a big favor,” Sheridan says.

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