2017 Solar Eclipse Driving Safety
The eclipse will happen between about 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. central time on Monday, August 21st. Anyone within the “path of totality” that will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina can see a total solar eclipse – an awe-inspiring sight of nature where the moon will completely cover sun.
Follow these practices:
- Prepare to Drive – understand the path of the eclipse and how it lines up with where you’ll be operating. If practical, plan your trip to be off the road during the few hours of prime observation time in your area.
- Slow Down! and Stay Back! – reduce your speed and increase your following distance to allow you more time to observe traffic and other conditions, respond properly to hazards and stop your vehicle in time.
- Know What’s Happening – focus on your driving. Avoid looking for the eclipse while you’re driving.
- Note – looking directly at a solar eclipse without proper eye protection can cause serious eye damage or blindness. Regular sunglasses, even good ones, do not protect you in this situation. Do not wear eclipse viewing glasses while driving.
- Leave your phone or camera alone. Do not take photos.
- Remember there will be pedestrians around stopped vehicles.
- Expect the Expected – read the Eclipse driving facts in this post and be ready for them.
- Reduce the Risk – avoid hazardous situations and make safe driving choices:
- Stay off the side of the road. If you want to observe the eclipse, find a safe and legal place to park to do so.
- Turn your headlights on while driving.
- If practical, avoid driving during the few hours of prime observation time if you’re operating in an area in the path of the eclipse
- Do not wear eclipse viewing glasses while driving. They can negatively impact your driving.
- If you want to observe the eclipse, remember to only do so when you are parked in a safe and legal location.
Do your research and protect your vision.
Eclipse driving facts:
- The Federal Highway Administration notes that approximately 200 million people live within a day’s drive of the path of this total eclipse.
- There will be increased traffic in these and other areas as many people travel to see the sight. This extra traffic will occur the day before, the day of and the day after the event.
- Many drivers will be distracted – they’ll be checking phones for updates, watching others watching the eclipse, looking at the sky, taking photos, texting with friends and family and making sure they’re the first to post something to social media.
- Some will be driving with their eclipse viewing glasses on and that can negatively impact their driving.
- People will be stopping, often suddenly, and parking on the side of the road to observe the sky. That means they’ll also be pulling back onto the road, again often suddenly, once the big event has ended. Through all that they present a hazard.
- There will be pedestrians moving around those stopped vehicles. Many of them will be children. They’ll be paying more attention to the sky than to safety.
Learn more about the eclipse and safe driving at the Federal Highway Administrations website at www.fhwa.dot.gov.