Many more people than usual will be on the roads in the next several days in hopes of getting a glimpse at the total eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017. What does that mean for travel?


With the Great Solar Eclipse fast approaching, now is the time to make sure you are prepared if you plan to do any traveling - even if it's just your usual commute to or from work. According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, there are approximately 200 million people that live within a day's drive to the path of totality. While not all of them will jump in their cars to make the drive, a large number of them likely will. This is going to cause some traffic headaches for those of here in the Evansville area as Highway 41 and I-69 are both major thoroughfares where people from the northern portions of the US will be passing through. If you are planning to travel to view the eclipse - or just to get back and forth to work in the next few days - allow extra time.

Traffic jam with rows of cars
Aleksandra Glustsenko

INDOT warns that you should never look directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection. They also offer some Do's & Don'ts:

  • Don’t take pictures while driving.
  • Don’t wear eclipse glasses while driving.
  • Don’t stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder.
  • Do turn your headlights on during the eclipse event.

Now, if you do plan to travel to one of the areas of totality, like Hopkinsville, Kentucky or Cartersville, Illinois, you may want to pack some essentials in your vehicle, just in case. INDOT says they are expecting "mass exodus" from the areas of totality which  means everyone leaving at one time. Imagine how packed the roads are going to be! It is entirely possible that you could get stuck in gridlocked traffic. So here are some suggestions, from me to you:

  • Fill up your vehicle before you arrive at your destination so you aren't trying to fill up on your way out. There are going to be a lot of people trying to gas up.
  • Toss a case of bottled water in the trunk of your car
  • Some non-perishable snacks like nuts, granola bars, jerkey would be handy too
  • A gas can - just in case you forgot to fill up and find yourself out of gas
  • Make sure you have a first-aid kit in your car, just in case.
  • While you're at it, ad in a blanket just in case

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