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How to Avoid Distracted Driving During the Eclipse

On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will occur in the United States, its path of totality crossing 14 states and more than 20 major interstate highways. Even those not in the path will be able to view a partial eclipse in most of the country. This is why the Federal Highway Administration is worried about distracted driving and how it will manifest itself during the eclipse.

During what is being called the “one of the largest driver distractions in years,” there are some steps you can take to avoid the extra danger from distracted driving on the roadways relating to the eclipse phenomenon.

Help Avoid Distracted Driving: Don’t Drive During the Eclipse

If at all possible, avoid being on or near the roads during the eclipse. Drivers will be more distracted all at once that at any time in recent history. Combine this with normally heavy summer vacation traffic and you have a recipe for disaster. If you don’t need to travel anywhere, then that is one less vehicle clogging the roads.

Don’t Look at the Eclipse if you are Driving

If you have to drive during the eclipse, don’t look at it. Don’t fall victim to poor, distracted driving practices. Don’t crane your neck out the window or try to catch a glimpse by looking up through your windshield or sunroof. Also, do not pull over to the side of the road or into an emergency lane to get out of your vehicle to look. That may seem like the safer of the two options, but all you will really be doing is blocking paths that may be needed by emergency personnel and providing extra things to crash into for other drivers who may themselves be distracted by the eclipse.

If you are driving, focus on the road and those around you. This not only includes other vehicles, but also pedestrians who may be looking at the eclipse and won’t see your vehicle coming. To help with being seen, remember to turn on your headlights. It will be afternoon, but when the moon blocks the sun it will be dark, especially along the path of totality.

If you need to drive during the eclipse, also expect extra traffic. There could be many people trying to get to a spot to watch the eclipse at the last minute. Watch for those people and don’t be one of them. Don’t add to the possible mess on the roads by not having a plan.

Plan Ahead

If you are looking at the eclipse, plan ahead. Have a place where you will watch the event, away from the roads and other vehicles. As mentioned, don’t jump into your vehicle just before the eclipse is scheduled to start and drive recklessly to a spot where you hope you may be able to watch it. Be there ahead of time and avoid possibly heavy traffic.

Of course, the best place to watch is your own yard or roof or balcony. Make sure you have the proper eyewear, because safety is paramount, whether you are on the roads or not. You are going to be looking directly at the sun, something you should NEVER do without protective eyewear. And this doesn’t mean sunglasses; it means specially made eclipse glasses.

A total solar eclipse is not something that can be seen very often. Make plans, be prepared and do it right.

If you do happen to find yourself the victim of car accident due to the eclipse, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A good attorney will be able to help you seek the justice you deserve for any injuries you may have suffered due to someone else’s distracted driving.

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