Gephyrophobia is the fear of crossing bridges. No, we didn't just make that up to sound intelligent, it's an actual thing and is one of those irrational phobias that crosses over with (the much more common) Acrophobia, which is a fear of heights.
As silly as the phobia may sound, it's pretty logical. Think about it: next time you channel your inner Indiana Jones and cross a rope bridge, try looking down over the edge or maybe even peaking in between individual slats. It's normally water that's down there, but what if you fall and land on those rocks?
See, we're getting worked up about it and we don't even have Gephyrophobia. Not yet anyway.
In order to terrify those who do, here are the 10 deadliest bridges in the world. Though not all of them are walkable, they're all equally as scary. Do yourself a favour. Don't look down...!
10. Millau Viaduct, France
Straight away, those who suffer from a fear of heights will want to avoid the Millau Viaduct situated in a beautiful valley crossing part of the River Tarn in Southern France. Acrophobics, look away now, because this particular bridge stands a massive 343 metres (that's 1,125 feet to those keeping score) above the ground.
Thankfully, that's just the mast. The actual deck of the bridge is only 270 metres (890 feet) away from the feeling the safety of earth beneath one's feet. That's alright then, eh? Phew, you'd think 270 metres was jumping distance or something to read it like that. It's not, before anyone gets any ideas; even with a bungee, this would be horrific.
Something that won't help those recoiling in horror is the fact that each of the 7 pylons holding the bridge aloft are only buried a mere 15 metres into the soil. That doesn't sound like a lot when considering the peak of the masts stand a full 328 metres above that.
Let's hope it's not windy in Millau.
9. Hanging Bridge Of Ghasa, Nepal
Suspension bridges are fearsome enough without looking like they've been built to replicate the feeling of going down a water slide made of string. Enter the Hanging Bridge Of Ghasa in Nepal, a structure which sounds like it was plucked from the latest Tomb Raider video game.
The picture above shows the view someone would have when daring to cross this monstrosity. Here's the funny bit: this bridge was built to ease traffic congestion near the Nepalese town of Ghasa. Apparently, authorities believed scaring the pants off travellers was also part of the area's tourism plan, because this just doesn't look safe.
It's tough to find specifics on the height of the Hanging Bridge. That's likely because those crossing it are too busy wondering if the Nepalese council have a sick sense of humour. Honestly, look at the steepness of this bridge (made out of rope) and tell us you'd even think about stepping foot on the thing.
8. Eshima Ohashi Bridge, Japan
If closing your eyes and preying for the other side on a rope bridge doesn't do it for you, then maybe driving up a bridge that seems to have come from the minds of madmen will get pulses racing. Say hello to the Eshima Shashi Bridge that connects the cities of Matsue and Sakaiminato in Japan.
Stretching over the Nakaumi lake, this rollercoaster-like construction appears to have been inspired in part by the developers of ancient arcade classic Hard Drivin'. That is one steep gradient, and there doesn't seem to much reason for it; look at the ground in the attached pic. It's well below the road, so the steepness has to be considered unnecessary.
Our only guess is that those building this nightmare believed everyone needed a wake up call when driving to work in the morning. They also ensured Eshima Ohashi was the third-largest rigid frame bridge in the world and the biggest of its kind in Japan.
7. Trift Suspension Bridge, Switzerland
Oh, dear reader. You thought the Hanging Bridge Of Ghasa in Nepal was freaky, didn't you? Well, feast thine eyes on the Trift Suspension Bridge that turns Toblerone into turds over in Switzerland. This one is around 170 metres in length, and that means you'd have to take an average of 223 steps to reach the other side. Then, and only then, you can open your eyes.
Situated amidst the breath-taking views of the Alps, the Trift Suspension Bridge is also a colossal 100 metres above the Trift Glacier. Our question is this though: why do those building these bridges have to do so at such an angle? It's hardly inviting to walk on.
When viewed from the side, the Trift Bridge isn't as steep as it seems when looking down from the top. Still, walking over a rope bridge 328 feet above sea level seems like a daunting task. This bridge was only built in 2004 when it became clear that the glacier was no longer high enough and an alternative route was needed.
So, they looked to Nepal for inspiration. Terrifying, terrifying inspiration.
6. Hussaini Hanging Bridge, Pakistan
First of all, the word 'hanging' does little to instil confidence in anyone's mind that walking across something will lead to anything but death. The Hussaini Hanging Bridge in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Northern Pakistan knows it's scary, and it does nothing to ease fears that it'll lead to certain doom.
As monsoons are regular in the region, it's ill-advised to think about taking this bridge on without an expert. Good luck finding one, because the creaky rope bridge sits at an altitude of 2,600 metres. You read that right, two thousand, six hundred metres. Stop and process that for a second, then realise that you cried when reading about the Millau Viaduct's 343 metre height.
Hussaini has more to offer though. Many of the wooden planks are missing, and strong winds are known to shake the bridge often. Combine that with the heavy rain and the whole escapade becomes an appalling idea only masochists would enjoy.
5. Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
Look at that, a charming little rope bridge situated in the picturesque Northern Irish countryside. Isn't that lovely? No, the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim is anything but. For a bridge only 20 metres (a measly 66 feet) long, it does a great job providing subtle scares.
Should one plummet from Carrick-A-Rede, they won't do so into the refreshing Irish seas. Instead, they'll fall to a painful death on the rocks 30 metres below. To think, people actually pay for the privilege of crossing this thing. That 'Maximum Number Of People On Bridge At One Time' sign should act as fair warning.
The whole bridge just fails at looking safe. Gorgeous views of Rathlin Island (and some of Scotland) do ease the fear somewhat, but that's before this rope-based fright is crossed and it's amazing around 247,000 people per year have the nerve to do it.
Let's hope they do so less than 8 at a time.
4. Puente De Ojuela, Mexico
At first glance, Puente De Ojuela doesn't even look like a bridge. From afar, it looks more like one long strand of rope and not something any person should walk on. Situated in the Mapimi Municipality, Ojuela Bridge is also smack bang in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, just off eastern Durango in Mexico. It's hard to find, in other words.
Built in the 19th century (presumably as some sort of torture device), the bridge spans 271.5 metres. The distance between pylons on the 1898 construction is 315.5 metres however, meaning there ain't a whole lot keeping this one upright.
You can thank engineer Santiago Minguín for bolstering the structure and making it safer, because it was worse before he came along.
Originally, the bridge was used to move ore from nearby mines. Nowadays, it's used for pedestrians. Can you imagine carrying anything heavy whilst walking across Ojuela? A quick gaze to the left or right is all it'd take to have those knees a-knocking.
3. Capilano Suspension Bridge, Canada
Behold the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, then realise that those are the tops of some very tall trees you're looking at. Beneath that foliage is the Capitano River too, as if the place needed any more chill-factor. All in all, the bridge stands 70 metres above sea level and has a length of 140 metres on top of that.
Constructed in 1889 by Scottish civil engineer George Grant Mackay, Capilano was initially made with hemp and a deck of wooden planks. Don't worry too much, that has all been replaced with metal. Ah, solid steel, how we were hoping you'd pop up at some point to put our minds at ease.
Only kidding, Capilano is still a nightmare.
Unlike many of the bridges here, it's not this one's height that's the main event. Several incidents, including women dropping babies, fir trees collapsing parts of the bridge and LSD-induced students falling over the side have plagued the stunning views visible from Capilano.
2. Langkawi Sky Bridge, Malaysia
Try as you might, Malaysia, you won't be able to build a rollercoaster attraction to rival anything at Disney World. Wait, that's a bridge, not a coaster.
The Langkawi Sky Bridge is not only aptly named, it's also one of the scariest experience on the map. Spanning 125 metres (410 feet) and located a freakish 660 metres (2,170 feet) above sea level, the bridge is located in Gunung Mat Chinchang on the Pulau Langkawi mountains.
Some walking it may find the experience tame due to the lack of incline. Those people are liars, but there is the SkyGlide attraction for those who have a death wish. We'll just stay down here on the ground, away from the threat of falling over 2,000 feet onto rocks below.
For the ultimate thrill, a steeper, less secure part of the bridge can be accessed for those who don't fancy the SkyGlide. What is wrong with people?
1. Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado
Finally, we come to Royal Gorge Bridge. Standing near Cañon City, Colorado and within limits of the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park amusement grounds, the Royal Gorge is the biggest bridge in the United States. It's also likely to make anyone with Gephyrophobia feel sick.
Notice something strange about the bridge itself? On the left of the picture, there's a support beam. Note that the other one (a full 268 metres/880 feet away) couldn't even fit into the photo frame. That doesn't seem safe, and it's why heavy goods vehicles are prohibited from driving over the thing; some, smaller vehicles are permitted, but only when the bridge is closed to pedestrians.
Fall from the central point and you're looking at 291 metres before smashing into the nasty combo of water/ground below. In feet, that's a pant-wetting 954.
Nice spot to bungee from...