Tuesday, November 28, 2023


New York strikes back at bridge strikes from tall vehicles

New York State officials are in the middle of a week-long campaign to cut down on bridge strikes. Last Sunday marked the start of a seven-day enforcement campaign to reduce tall vehicles from hitting low bridges. Governor Kathy Hochul said the situation is “creating public safety hazards, traffic delays and damage to bridges across the state.”

Look out for State Police

New York State Police officers will be patrolling “areas of known bridge hits” in hopes of preventing collisions. The state blames semi-trucks and “other oversized vehicles.”

“Bridge strikes are potentially hazardous to motorists and first responders and have caused needless inconveniences for local communities – but these incidents are 100 percent preventable,” Hochul said in a statement. “While we have implemented measures and technologies across the state to help prevent bridge strikes, nothing is more powerful than knowledge. Drivers of overheight vehicles have a responsibility here, as well: Follow posted warnings, know the height of vehicles and, most importantly, pay attention.”

How big a problem are bridge strikes?

Just how many bridge strikes is the Empire State inflicted with? A total of 808 reported bridge strikes occurred across New York in 2021 and 2022. The issue has become so prevalent that officials have proposed legislation that would place points on a driver’s license for striking a bridge.

“There have been far too many incidents of bridge strikes involving trucks and overheight vehicles in recent years, which are not only dangerous but completely preventable,” Marie Therese Dominguez, Department of Transportation commissioner, said in a statement. “While we will continue to implement measures that alert drivers to potential low-clearance bridges, it is the responsibility of the operators to drive safely and pay attention to all warnings in place.”

Personal experience

From the perspective of these writers, low bridges in New York are a way of life, particularly in the Upstate area. We have encountered low bridge warning signs, typically a very short distance from the actual bridge, and often after a curve which puts the bridge out of a reasonable sight line. Finding a place to safely back up a fifth-wheel to avoid clobbering a low bridge is in our permanent memory file of our travels in the Empire State.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles (@guest_260281)
17 days ago

I called the police in my city when my way was blocked by a stuck truck on an underpass. They refused to take the call. It is being fixed now, took 25 years to finally happen.

Uncle Swags (@guest_260196)
18 days ago

The increase is directly related to the number of drivers who can’t read English. Maybe the folks who read numbers in metric but not so much. Sorry but this will continue to increase as the trucking industry struggles to find enough competent drivers.

Gary Blackburn (@guest_260157)
19 days ago

It may not be feasible to raise bridges but they sure as heck could lower the roadway to provide adequate clearance for trucks and RVs. Meanwhile, instead of signs warning of a low bridge, Establish well marked detours, perhaps called “truck route” instead. I think that everyone that hits a low bridge, which nationally is not the norm, should take legal action against the county and state.

Traveler (@guest_260141)
19 days ago

How about some solution? What’s the best mapping program for RVers?

Leonard (@guest_260402)
16 days ago
Reply to  Traveler

I use a TomTom RV GPS. I input my height, weight, length and all good! It will route me away from sharp corners, low bridges, etc. Excellent peace of mind when I am on an unfamiliar route. Sometimes the detour is 50 miles, but seems better than losing an air conditioner or two!

Rally Ace (@guest_260140)
19 days ago

Part two. The State of NY is responsible for the root cause of the issue when, in the early 80s they designated the roadway with the low bridge as NY Rt 370 and it became a de facto on ramp to I-81 southbound. The state somehow keeps forgetting this part and will not change the road designation. They just keep studying the problem and adding more signs.

Rally Ace (@guest_260138)
19 days ago

To make a long story short, the bridge in the picture above is about 10 miles from us. It is struck about once a month because far too many truckers use an automotive GPS rather than a trucker’s GPS. The bridge has 14 warning signs as you approach it yet it is still struck. The truckers either cannot read or they are not paying attention. As we say here, you cannot fix stupid.

Joe Goldstein (@guest_260126)
19 days ago

They need to do a better job of getting the digital maps to include all of the low bridges. Last month in NY around Goshen, we got stymied by 2 low bridges which, while marked on the approach to them, weren’t on any of the digital maps I checked. I held up traffic twice while trying to turn around on small rural roads.

Split Shaft (@guest_260121)
19 days ago

Most all reasonable steps law enforcement can take to keep our roads and bridges safe is a welcome benefit. Whether drunk drivers or careless truck or RV drivers the aftermath of any accident is never a welcome experience.

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