Driving around the water in Hampton Roads requires navigating many tunnels and bridges, where accidents and traffic often slow you down. Slowdowns are especially prevalent at the five tunnels spread across the five cities, the Midtown, Downtown, Hampton Roads-Bridge Tunnel, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel. To help prevent traffic, it’s important that drivers follow the proper protocol when crossing through a tunnel, including all posted signs and speed limits.
Always maintain the proper speed limits as posted through the tunnel, but be aware of other driver’s as it is common for drivers to slow down unnecessarily when crossing through a tunnel. When in traffic be mindful that traffic inside the tunnel can come to a quick stop and always maintain the proper distance between yourself and the car in front of you.
If you are in an accident, normal procedure states that you should move your vehicle to the side of the road and call for assistance. In a tunnel, wait with your vehicle for an incident team to be dispatched, as all of the tunnels are monitored.
When traveling through a two-lane, single-direction tunnel be sure to obey the proper road markings. To help reduce accidents, lane changes are prohibited while inside the tunnel and should be completed well before entering the tunnel.
Finally, be aware that the Midtown, Downtown, and Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel all require a toll. Remember to have your smart tag ready, or sign up for the Pay-By-Plate system in effect at the Midtown and Downtown tunnels.
The tunnels and bridges across Hampton Roads provide a substantial driving risk in terms of traffic and safety, but by following the posted rules and being prepared, you can help keep yourself and other drivers safe on your daily commute.