Eclipse will lead to traffic backups and other road hazards

WASHINGTON (WUSA) - Driving to see the total eclipse? Read this before you finalize your travel arrangements. Some of the largest traffic backups this nation has ever seen will be possible on some main roadways leading to the path of the total solar eclipse!

Approximately 200 million people live within a day's drive of the path of the total solar eclipse. Hotels are approximately 95% sold out in that path of totality, and it's expected that some traffic back-ups could last a while, so pack your patience.

The following are two excellent graphs by Michael Zeiner, geologist and GIS-expert, from GreatAmericanEclipse.com that show how far various cities are within the path of totality, and how long the driving distance is. 

 "Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com"
Graphic: "Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com"


Quite possibly the most 'jammed' roads will end up being on the east coast, including the 95-corridor as millions travel from the northeast through DC and the Mid-Atlantic, and down to South Carolina to see the total solar eclipse. It could be quite a slow process the weekend and morning leading up to the event - it won't just be a 'drive 5 hours, see it, and turnaround and leave' type of deal. 


 "Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com"

 Graphic: "Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com"


For those who are living in the path of the total eclipse or even near it -- the changing environmental conditions could also bring about some hazardous driving conditions. Highway and transportation officials across the path are all urging folks to stay off the roads during the eclipse. They are worried that people will freak out, looking up at the sun and taking their eyes off the road; this could lead to an increased probability and risk of traffic accidents. 

Here are some safety tips to remember if you're driving on Monday, August 21st:
- Do not stop or slow down in the middle of the road while trying to observe the eclipse
- Do not drive with solar eclipse glasses on. They block out a significant percentage of light and you will be unable to see the road, putting you and surrounding others at risk
- Do not pull over on the side of the road, median, or an underpass and try to get out of the car to take a photo of the eclipse or a selfie with it. This is also very dangerous. 
 

There are a few towns within the path of totality that are SO concerned about driver's safety, that they're mandating no driving during the event. 

So the name of the game for Monday: Don't be on the road during the eclipse! 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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