On Monday, April 8, 2024, a solar eclipse will be visible across a large part of the United States, from Texas to Maine. Leading up to and immediately following the eclipse, state officials anticipate record numbers of people flocking to the path of totality (i.e., where the eclipse will be most apparent).

Approximately 180 million people live within 200 miles of the eclipse path, according to information cited by the Wall Street Journal. If even a fraction of these people venture to view the eclipse, areas could be inundated with vehicles and pedestrians.

In 2017, during the last eclipse, some people reported sitting in traffic for five to 12 hours or longer. For anyone traveling to see the 2024 eclipse, be sure you know what to expect.

Planning Ahead

The best trips are often planned, so don’t embark on an eclipse journey without some forethought. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Consider going a day or two in advance, if possible. Similarly, as thousands of people may be in the area, be sure to budget ample time to get home afterward. It may make sense to book a nearby hotel or campsite for the night.

Before heading out, make sure you have a full tank of gas; it’s not uncommon to run out of fuel while stuck in traffic for hours. Additionally, ensure you have water, food, printed directions (in case cellular data is spotty), medications and anything else you may require if delayed in traffic for a lengthy period. Also, don’t forget your solar eclipse–viewing glasses.

Staying Safe on the Road

Did you know that reading a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds?

At 55 mph, this is the equivalent of driving across an entire football field with your eyes closed. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to practice responsible driving. With millions of people on the road, the last thing you need is to get into an accident.

Consider the following safe-driving tips:

  • Stay calm. Mentally prepare for vehicle slowdowns. Accept that you’ll be in traffic, and don’t let emotions turn into road rage.


  • Never look at a handheld device while driving. Pull over if you must answer a call or respond to a text. Even in a traffic jam, glancing at your phone can lead to a fender bender or worse.


  • Avoid adjusting the radio or GPS. Even your car’s infotainment system can be a distraction. If you need to check your location, pull over to a safe place first or have someone else in the vehicle direct you.


  • Never stop on the freeway. As the saying goes, “A good driver may sometimes miss their exit; a bad driver never does.” Absolutely never stop on a freeway for any reason other than an emergency. If you miss a turn, continue on and take the next available one.

The 2024 solar eclipse is bound to be unforgettable; however, traveling to and from its path may be slow-going and fraught with potential risks. Make sure you understand exactly where you’re going before you leave and have everything you need for the trip.

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