Monday’s Solar Eclipse and Road Safety: What You Need to Know
A total solar eclipse is expected occur Monday, August 21, across the entire continental United States and it’s happening for the first time in 99 years. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and departments of transportation across the country are issuing a warning to all drivers to exercise caution on eclipse day. It is expected that about 200 million people will be within a day’s drive of the total solar eclipse.
Even individuals who cannot see the total eclipse will be able to see the partial eclipse. It’s going to last only a couple of minutes. But, the eclipse will darken the country in the middle of the day when millions of Americans are on the road. The FHWA calls this solar eclipse “one of the largest driver distractions in years.” The path of totality will cross many state lines. It will also cross more than 20 interstates. Millions of drivers are expected to be watching the skies from their vehicles on Monday.
Here are a few tips from our California car accident lawyers, if you are planning to be out and about on the day of the eclipse or if you plan to head over to the path of totality to catch a glimpse.
Distracted driving: Do not attempt to drive and see the eclipse at the same time. If you would like to view the eclipse, exit the roadway and park in a safe area away from traffic to view the eclipse. Do not try to work social media or your cell phone camera when you are driving to take photographs. Put your phone away when you are driving. And this should be obvious, but do not wear opaque eclipse glasses while driving.
Pedestrian safety: Be mindful of pedestrians who may be walking around with their eyes fixed on the sky. Be prepared for extra congestion on the roads during the eclipse in terms of foot traffic. Keep your headlights on so you can see pedestrians and other traffic on the road.
Roadwork: Remember that summer time is the peak season for roadway construction work. The month of August, in particular, can get extremely busy when it comes to highway construction work. Again, keep your headlights on make sure you slow down where roadwork is taking place.
Planning ahead: If you are planning to go to another location or state to view the eclipse, plan your trip way ahead of time. You can do so by visiting any of the 14 state DOT websites for real-time traveler information. Pay attention to weather conditions so you can plan your trip accordingly.
Enjoy the eclipse, but be safe!