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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wind Shear. Also Known As: Why I HATE Bridges

The New York Metro Area has 2,027 bridges and tunnels. Tunnels are easy. Make sure you've got enough clearance for your ambulance and don't change lanes.

Bridges are a whole other story. Single level suspension bridges have minor wind shear to begin with. Keep both hands steady on the wheel and stay in your lane.

Now, when you're in the ambulance that drives like a poor abused dog because it's been in too many accidents, this is a little more difficult. Every little bump and dip will send you drifting into your neighboring lane.

When you're in the aforementioned ambulance crossing a long suspension bridge in a spontaneous monsoon on an emergency call...

...you will be honked at. Repeatedly.

Safety suggestions, according to my partner:
1. Slow down
2. Open front windows of vehicle
3. Change to middle lane (the left lane is not your friend, that divider makes the situation worse)

Safety suggestions, according to the American Red Cross:
1. Keep both hands on the wheel and slow down.
2. Watch for objects blowing across the roadway and into your path.
3. Keep a safe distance from cars in adjacent lanes as strong gusts could push a car outside its lane of travel.
4. Take extra care in a high-profile vehicle such as a truck, van, SUV, or when towing a trailer, as these are more prone to be pushed or even flipped by high wind gusts.
5. If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, get onto the shoulder of the road and stop, making sure you are away from trees or other tall objects that could fall onto your vehicle. Stay in the car and turn on the hazard lights until the wind subsides.

So here's some information on wind shear and suspension bridges. (Don't read stuff about the Tacoma Bridge. It's not reassuring.)

Suspension Bridges - bukisa.com

Wind Shear - Wikipedia.com

High Wind Safety Tips - American Red Cross

Driving In High Winds - Midas

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