Bad habits on the Bay Bridge

November 9, 2009 7:45:15 PM PST
Caltrans says drivers must slow down, but many drivers who routinely travel the Bay Bridge have strong opinions on S-curve which already has a bad reputation.

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In the lifespan of a person, "40 or more" is often considered a milestone. But, when "40 or more" applies to the number of accidents in one stretch of one bridge since Labor Day, it takes on all new significance.

RAW VIDEO: Caltrans discusses Monday's Bay Bridge accident

Caltrans says drivers must slow down, but many drivers who routinely travel the Bay Bridge have strong opinions on S-curve which already has a bad reputation.

"If I have to go across that, it's only because I have to go to the airport and sometimes I'll take the San Mateo Bridge to try to avoid it," says commuter Charles Wanzo.

Forty, incidentally, is the speed limit on the stretch of s-curves. It is 40 mph, down 10 mph from 50 mph, on a bridge where it is common to for traffic to move at 60 mph.

"When there's a sign to slow down, slow down," Wanzo says.

But, 40 mph seems to be the exception not the rule, no matter what the signs say.

One man told ABC7 the bridge reminded him of Formula One race tracks, comparing the S-curve to a chicane. Another man said he had not had any close calls yet but knows people who have. Al Marquez described his Monday morning commute, recalling how a driver was tailgating him, wanting him to speed up.

When ABC7 asked Monday about the bridge, where the California Highway Patrol has appeared to increase visibility, officials could not name a higher density accident zone on any highway in California.

CHP Sgt. Trent Cross says, "This is not about roadway design. It's very simple. It's about driving behavior."

Maybe it is about bad behavior on a stretch of road now in the fast lane to notoriety.

"I always make sure I leave a car-length no matter how slow I have to go," says Bob McConnell.

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