The critical time a full solar eclipse overcome the US coastline to coast, there were just 6.2 million registered motor vehicles in the entire country, follow to the commonwealth Highway administration (FHWA). Automobiles were still a relatively new fad in 1918, so as soon as the Sun, Earth, and Moon discovered themselves in alignment that year, the possibilities of dying in an eclipse-related auto accident was statistically quite low.

That’s not so for this year’s complete solar eclipse, which is collection to occur on respectable 21st. This may explain why federal transport officials space so alarmed: there to be 263.6 million registered vehicles in the united state in 2015, and also probably a few million more today. More drivers throughout an eclipse method more possibilities for distraction, which means more fender benders, or worse. In 2016, website traffic fatalities in the US boosted 6 percent from the vault year, come 40,200. The two-year increase — 14 percent indigenous 2014 to 2016 — was the largest in more than fifty percent a century.

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Don’t look in ~ the eclipse when driving

All of i m sorry is come say: don’t stare at the eclipse when driving. Honestly, don’t look at the eclipse at all without the appropriate eyewear, but especially not while driving. It sound obvious, however it bears repeating: don’t look at the eclipse if driving.

It’s summer, therefore the interstate mechanism is already going to it is in choked through traffic. And when girlfriend toss a once-in-a-century event like a total solar eclipse into the mix, it’s a recipe because that disaster. Over 200 million people live in ~ a day’s journey of the eclipse’s path, which method an untold variety of eager eclipse-chasers will certainly be hitting the roads in anticipation for this rare occurrence. The FHWA is currently calling that “one of the biggest driver distractions in years.”

“We encourage travelers, we want to be excited about this, yet be prepared,” stated Martin Knopp, combine administrator for operations at FHWA, in a recent push briefing. “It’s not a time come just show up and at the spur the the moment drive for a couple of minutes with your head the end the home window looking up at the sky. It’s not time to traction over and be on the side of the road.”

Here are some valuable tips come avoid coming to be a depressing statistic throughout one the the most anticipated cosmic occasions in decades.


Don’t look at the eclipse when driving

There are much more ways to journey distracted 보다 ever, from in-car Wi-Fi to Snapchat come Pokémon Go (which has currently claimed one driver’s life). So apologies if this sounds repetitive, yet really don’t do it. Setup ahead. If girlfriend really desire to see the eclipse (remember: solar filter glasses), do it from what that’s no your driver’s seat.

Don’t pull over on the next of the highway either

Obvious? Sure. Yet the route of totality will certainly cross much more than 20 interstates, and also the eclipse is expected to last much less than three minutes, which means the temptation to just pull over quick and take a height will it is in overwhelming. Yet don’t perform it. If you standing on the side of an interstate staring up at the sky, friend won’t watch that 18-wheeler bearing down on you until it’s as well late.

There will be many, many pedestrians the end — don’t death them

Motorists will certainly be forgiven for reasoning they’ve stumbled top top the collection of The Walking Dead, given the hordes of pedestrians that will certainly be out, staring zombie-like in ~ the sky and not paying fist to their surroundings. You, the driver, will be operation a two-ton automobile in their midst. Be mindful.

Turn on her headlights

During a complete solar eclipse, the Moon is literally impede the Sun, turning day right into night. So some extra visibility is probably in order: don’t depend on your vehicle’s automatic lights, place your sunlight visor to block your see of the Sun, and also don’t wear eclipse-appropriate eyewear if driving. (Mostly due to the fact that you’ll look stupid act it, but additionally because you literally can’t watch anything v them except the Sun.)

Watch out for construction

August is height highway building and construction season. And while that doesn’t necessarily analyze to an ext construction workers, it does mean much more orange barrels, cones, and message signs, posing a potential risk for distracted drivers. The FHWA has a great resource for locating significant construction and also road closures in her area.

Image: NASA

Plan ahead

Honestly, the best thing you can do during the eclipse is avoid the road altogether. The going to be a mess out there, so if you desire to get to a good viewing spot, carry out it early. If you live in the path of totality and don’t need to be top top the road throughout the eclipse, put the secrets down and chill out. Trucking companies and also shippers are already adjusting their freight schedules to prevent the flow of web traffic that’s bound come snarl the highways. Department of transport from claims that space in the eclipse’s route are advising civilization to remain off the road. This is great advice. Ride a bike. Walk. Use public transportation.

“Don’t let this solar phenomenon eclipse great judgment,” FHWA’s Knopp quipped. Not exactly an LOL moment, but it’s worth noting considering how typically our judgment is overshadowed when we drive under normal, non-cosmic circumstances.

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Solar eclipse 2017: every little thing you must know about the celestial phenomenon

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