Eclipse tips: road safety edition

Who’s excited about the solar eclipse?

We are! I mean, c’mon, this doesn’t happen every day. The last one was back in 1979 (or about 13,800+ days ago, not that we’re counting).

Image source: MOHAI Seattle P-I Collection, People watching the last solar eclipse in 1979

Image source: MOHAI Seattle P-I Collection, People watching the last solar eclipse in 1979

With Monday’s solar eclipse just around the corner, we want to share some travel safety tips, particularly if you happen to be on the road while all the excitement is going down. FYI, NASA’s got detailed tips on how to view the eclipse safely. In Seattle, we’re expected to see a partial eclipse, 92 percent, at approximately 10:20 AM (you can plug in your zip code here and see when and how much you’ll see!).

Some officials are saying this could be the biggest distracted driving event of the century. Distracted driving is unfortunately happening every hour of every day on most roads, but yes, the eclipse may very well be a big deal Monday morning in terms of tying up traffic and being something extra distracting.

So here are some helpful tips from AAA in advance of Monday’s event:

  • Exit the roadway and park in a safe area away from traffic to view the eclipse
  • Do NOT stop along the highway or interstate or park on the shoulder of the road
  • Keep headlights on – don’t rely on automatic headlights
  • Do NOT wear eclipse glasses while driving
  • Do NOT try to photograph or video the eclipse while driving
  • Be extra mindful of pedestrians that many will be walking around with their eyes on the sky
  • Prepare for extra congestion on the roads during the eclipse period, but also in the days before and after the eclipse as many travelers head to the totality zone
  • Have your viewing location set and stay in place, avoiding travel during the eclipse

In short, it’s a safe bet to keep your eyes on the road during eclipse time. Taking pictures or videos while you’re driving is a no-no (you shouldn’t be touching your phone while behind the wheel). If you’re interested in viewing the eclipse, plan ahead and find a good spot off the road to safely take in the view.