The dramatic rescue was caught on video taken from an NYPD helicopter.
Police got the call of a man on the edge of the bridge's upper level at 10:09 a.m. on Monday.
The man drove his Dodge Caravan on the Brooklyn-bound side of the bridge, stopped with his hazard lights on and climbed onto a small perch on the outer cables, police said.
Detective Jeffrey Loughery, Detective Paul Fazio and Police Officer Robert Reed from Emergency Service Squad 5 responded and Reed began to talk to the man.
Police said the man was upset that he could not find a job and provide for his family, and officers got nearly 5 feet from him while they talked. He was standing on the ledge with both hands gripping the cables.
The video shows the man looking down from the ledge when Fazio and Loughery rush to secure him with a safety harness and rescue line, thinking he was about to jump.
The video also shows the man nearly slipping out of his shirt and falling before officers quickly grab him, secure him and lead him to the roadbed of the bridge.
He was taken to Staten Island University Hospital North, police said.