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Getting Over Your Fear Of Roller Coasters
Roller coasters, named by some as "bone chilling machines" are amusement rides developed for modern theme and amusement parks.The oldest roller coasters are believed to have originated from the so-called "Russian Mountains", which were especially created hills of ice, located around Saint Petersburg. Mega roller coasters of today reach heights of over 400 feet and have speeds that exceed 100 miles per hour. Those towering taller than a certain height are terrifying for many individuals. Height, speed, inversions, backward segments, unique track elements, darkness, and unexpected surprises, all contribute to making your head spin, and your knees tremble. The experience of controlled falling is scary but provides an incredible adrenaline rush. Coaster enthusiasts strap themselves into these scream machines simply because they enjoy the horror in a safe environment. The sensation of weightlessness, or the simulated experience of being thrown out in air reinforces the fear.
Basic Structure Of A Roller Coaster
Based on the construction material, roller coasters have been classified into -Wooden and Steel structures. The difference between the two is primarily based on the material that the rails are constructed from, and not what the supports are made of. The steel coasters have a track consisting of steel rails while wooden coaster tracks are made from layers of laminated wood. Every wood coaster is actually a steel coaster, as all the wheels ride on bands of steel. Depending on their height, roller coasters can be categorized into the following types:
- Hyper coasters: Those with at least one element between 200-299 feet tall.
- Giga coasters: Those with at least an element between 300-399 feet tall.
- Strata coasters: Those with at least one element ranging from 400-499 feet in height.
Yell Loud ! Screaming can take away the scariness
Most Terrifying Roller Coasters Ever Built
- Cannibal, Lagoon Amusement Park, Farmington, UT: It careens passengers directly through a tunnel, that dives headlong into a 208 feet tall tower. Its scariest feature is an 116 degrees drop, at a speed of 70 miles per hour. It is not open as yet.
- El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ: It stands 181 feet tall, with the scariest feature being, multiple instances of what is called, "the head chopper effect". You will feel a sense of weightlessness for most of the ride.
- Fury 325, Carowinds, Charlotte, NC: It is the tallest traditional chain lift roller coaster in the world, at 325 feet.
- Gatekeeper, Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH: It is the tallest and fastest wing coaster with six inversions. The wing seats flare out on either side of the vehicle, so it gives you a feel of flying, as you navigate the twists and turns of this coaster.
- Goliath, Six Flags Great America, Gurnee II: At 180 feet and 85 degrees, it has the longest and the steepest drop of any wooden roller coaster. It is also the fastest wooden coaster and has two zero gravity stalling areas.
- Intimidator 305, Kings Dominion, Doswell, VA: It stands 305 feet tall, and has a speed of 90 miles per hour. It has multiple low to the ground hairpin turns.
- Gravity Max, Lihpao land discovery world, Taiwan: This roller coaster has a ride, that slowly inches up a 114 feet lift, stopping at the top. Then suddenly the track breaks off, flipping down 90 degrees to align with a 34 storey vertical drop. It is a tilting type of roller coaster.
- Iron Rattle, Six Flags Fiesta, Texas, San Antonio, Texas
- Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ
- Formula Rossa, Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
- Takabisha, Fuji-Q Highland Theme Park, Japan
Why Are Roller Coasters Scary
Coaster phobia is an illusion of danger. There are different explanations of why you get scared on a roller coaster ride. It could be due to the below-mentioned reasons:
- Roller coasters tend to be tall, with long drops, making them challenging for those with fear of heights or acrophobia.
- By designs, the seats are small and tight, and the restraints fit extremely snugly. This is necessary for safety, but can trigger claustrophobia. The person feels locked up with no escape.
- People are also afraid of looking down from great heights. It may trigger vertigo and dizziness (Illygnophobia).
- If you fear germs (mysophobia), then a roller coaster ride would not be a pleasant experience. There is a possibility that someone will vomit or urinate exposing the phobic person to those body fluids.
- People with motion sickness, or even fear of vomiting (emetophobia) also avoid roller coasters.
- Some of us do not fear the coaster but worry that we will have an embarrassing reaction to the coaster. Such people are more concerned that they will be judged for screaming, cringing or otherwise reacting to the coaster movements.
How To Overcome Roller Coaster Fear
- Understand that coaster is supposed to be scary to give riders fun thrills and chills. But it is not dangerous, as long as you follow safety precautions.
- Go with friends to cheer you on. Best buddies scream together and support each other through the ride.
- Build your confidence. Learn what to expect. Gather some information about roller coasters before you ride your first ones. You can get the park map, or check-out the specific coasters online. If you are scared of big drops, look for a coaster with a curved drop, instead of a straight drop. Try not to find out things that can cause fear, like how tall the coaster is, or how fast it goes, but check out the twists and turns.
- Talk to other people, friends and family, about their experiences. Ask what rides are the smoothest or the tamest, and which ones to avoid. Read online, watch videos on anything you think, you may go on to see.
- Start small. Older wooden coasters with small medium drops and no loops are a good bet for first-timers.
- Sit somewhere in the middle, so you can focus on the back of the seat in front of you, and don't have to worry too much about what's coming. Look at your watch to avoid the scare.
- Follow the instructions of the park employees and the ride guidelines.
- Look straight ahead. Keep your head secure, and back against the seat in your chair, and try to focus on the track in front of you, or the back of the seat in front of you.
- Breathe deeply. Do not hold your breath, or you might become light-headed.
- Flex your stomach and arm muscles.
- Ignore the spooky decorations.
- Yell loud. Screaming can take away the scariness, and make you want to laugh.