Throwback Thursday: How to Drive Safely on the Bay Bridge in 1940

By Mark Prado
Bay Bridge 1940 rules

The San Francisco Examiner dutifully reported on Oct 16, 1940 plans to hand out cards to "autoists" who used the Bay Bridge, outlining seven rules for safe travel. Four years after it opened, officials felt the need to give people advice on how to drive the span.

Some 150,000 cards were handed out over two days with these tips:

  • Never cross the double center line stripe (these were the days when only the top deck was used for auto traffic, the lower was set aside for the Key rail system and trucks.)
  • Never straddle a traffic lane stripe.
  • Stay in your traffic lane except when passing.
  • When driving slowly, keep in lane next to curb.
  • Do not follow too closely behind the car ahead. It may stop suddenly.
  • The red call boxes along the sides of the bridge are for your convenience and safety. Use them if your car is stalled. You will be given prompt, courteous service at a nominal cost.
  • Mix equal portions of good driving and courtesy.