Safety Tips During Eclipse Traffic


The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse will be an unprecedented event as it is the first total solar eclipse to stretch from coast-to-coast in the U.S. since 1918.  As you likely know by now, Salem, Oregon is the epicenter for viewing the eclipse and will be the first U.S. metropolitan area in the path of totality.  It is anticipated that hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world will flock to the Salem area to experience the unique celestial event.

The large influx of visitors may temporarily double the Salem area population and will assuredly create an unprecedented traffic event that will span from several days before the eclipse to several days after.  Despite estimates, no one knows quite how much traffic there will be.  Keep in mind, the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse will be the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse since the advent of the automobile and the creation of the interstate freeway system.  Here are some tips for being safe and comfortable while on the road before, during, and after the eclipse:

  • Expect traffic delays and anticipate heavy congestion, especially on freeways and highways
  • Fill your gas tank and go through a vehicle maintenance checklist to make sure all fluids are topped off, brake lights and headlights are working, and tires are filled to factory specifications
  • Carry a spare tire, emergency kit, jumper cables, flares and cell phone charger in your vehicle
  • Plan ahead for needs such as food, water, medication, gas and restroom breaks
  • Plan to arrive at your viewing location early, stay at your location during the eclipse, and leave your viewing location late to avoid peak traffic
  • Focus on the task of driving and do not drive while distracted by cell phones or other devices
  • Be alert to traffic congestion and distracted drivers
  • Be patient and courteous toward other drivers
  • Watch for pedestrians as many people will likely be walking near roadways prior to and during the eclipse and may be looking up, not looking ahead
  • Turn your headlights on prior to the moon blocking out the sun (i.e. when the moon begins to cross in front of the sun)
  • Do not look at the eclipse or take photos while driving
  • Do not wear eclipse glasses while driving
  • Exit the roadway to a safe location in order to view or photograph the eclipse

The attorneys and staff at Adams, Hill & Hess hope that you enjoy the show, have fun and remain safe.  Below is a link to important phone numbers for those in the Salem area during the eclipse:

Here are other eclipse related traffic stories/resources: