Thousands are expected to hit the road to see the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. That might mean more dangerous driving conditions.
Roads are expected to be filled with people – many from out of state – headed to the best vantage points to watch the eclipse, especially in the western part of North Carolina, where the eclipse will be more complete. The total solar eclipse is the first to cross the entire continental U.S. since 1918, but there is only a narrow strip across the country where the totality of the eclipse will be visible just after 2:30 p.m.
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N.C. Highway Patrol officials are asking eclipse viewers to arrive early for the event and try to carpool or find other ways to help decrease the number of vehicles on the roads.
Safety tips before and after the eclipse:
▪ Arrive early
▪ Expect traffic delays closer to the eclipse date
▪ Be patient
▪ Plan alternate routes
▪ Monitor traffic reports in local news and radio
▪ Have food and water readily available
▪ Remove your vehicle from the road if you have car trouble
▪ If you’re involved in a wreck with no injuries, move your vehicle to the shoulder to wait for authorities
Safety tips during the eclipse:
▪ Don’t stop on the road
▪ Don’t park on the shoulder or median
▪ Use only designated parking areas
▪ Do not wear eclipse glasses while driving
▪ Do not drive distracted – park before trying to photograph or record the eclipse
▪ Watch for pedestrians
▪ Use your headlights when appropriate
Eclipse viewing glasses are necessary to look directly at the eclipse while the sun is partly covered. During the two-minute “totality,” when the sun is completely blocked, it is safe to take the glasses off – but most of North Carolina, including the Triangle, is not in the path of totality.