On Monday, August 21, virtually everyone in North America will be able to experience a solar eclipse as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. Excitement for this event has been building for months, as the last time most Americans experienced a full solar eclipse was 1979.
The path of totality (where the moon fully covers the sun for a few minutes) is expected to pass through 14 states, including some heavily populated areas in the Midwest and South. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explains that the entire eclipse process will last approximately 90 minutes. The first point of contact in the U.S. will be at Lincoln Beach, OR, at 9:05 am PDT, with totality beginning at 10:16 am PDT. During the eclipse, the path of totality will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The total eclipse will end near Charleston, SC, at 2:48 pm EDT.
The path of totality will run diagonally through the middle of the United States, and many motor carriers, even those not based along the line of totality, may find themselves passing through affected areas on their regular routes.
The eclipse is expected to bring a considerable boost in both pedestrian and vehicle traffic. This can be especially troublesome to truck drivers as they attempt to navigate in and around heavily populated areas. The eclipse could also lead to an increase of distracted driving while the eclipse is occurring, as many drivers may not pay attention to the other motorists around them.
Below are some tips to consider when operating a CMV around the areas affected by this month’s eclipse. These tips can be especially pertinent to truck drivers as they plan their travels and encounter increased traffic along the roadways:
- Avoid stopping along the interstate or parking on the shoulder of the road around the time of the event.
- Never take photographs while driving.
- Do not wear opaque eclipse glasses or stare directly at the sun while operating a vehicle.
- Manually turn your headlights on – even if your vehicle is equipped with automatic lights.
- Be on the lookout for extra congestion from vehicles and pedestrians before, during, and after the eclipse.
Several state trucking associations and transportation departments have issued advisories and alerts specific to the roadways in their states. Drivers and dispatchers are encouraged to review this information and prepare for any potential travel delays or problems. For more information, please visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-101.
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your Safety Representative, or click below to find an agent.
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