Eclipse 2017 – Avoid the Roads!
August 7, 2017
Next week, on August 21, 2017, the United States will be the only land mass in the world where a total solar eclipse can be seen. The Eclipse will come ashore on the coast of Oregon at 10:15 AM, Pacific Daylight Time and will cross over the South Carolina coast near Charleston at approximately 2:49 PM, Eastern Daylight Time.
Portions of 12 states between Oregon and South Carolina will experience totality (total darkness). As it passes over those 12 states, it will cross every major north-south interstate highway and many of the east-west interstates in the US. The totality will pass over the following cities;
- Lincoln, NE
- Kansas City, MO
- Nashville, TN
- Greenville, SC
- Columbia, SC
- Charleston, SC
The totality will just skirt the edge of St. Louis, MO.
This event isn’t the end of the Earth nor does it have any dreaded meaning unless you happen to be among the millions of people who will be out driving during the period of totality. Driving during the totality should be no big deal; it’s just like driving at night. However, the roads in the area of totality are going to be packed and the totality is going to be a huge distraction as many drivers take their eyes off the road to try to view the sun.
During totality, the sun will be totally blotted out for up to two-and a half minutes and only the sun’s atmosphere (corona) will be visible. For many it will be a once in a lifetime sight. It’s not a sight you want to try to view while driving at highway speeds.
If you’re going to be on the road during the event, it’s best that you pull off the road and stop before totality arrives. It will be best to get out of your vehicle to experience what, for most of us, will be our only chance to witness a total eclipse.
Don’t just pull off the road; exit the road completely. If you’re on an interstate or limited access highway, exit the highway before totality. If you’re on a city street, pull into a parking lot. Pulling off on the shoulder will be too dangerous because there will be so many distracted drivers, you can easily be hit.
Remember not to look at the sun until it goes completely dark. Looking at even a sliver of the sun can burn your retina and possibly blind you for life. The only safe way to look at the sun is through official eclipse glasses.
To see what time the area of totality will pass over your location, go to the eclipse map and click on your location. All times on the map are in UTC or Greenwich mean time which is six hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.
Drive safe and enjoy the view!