Thursday, August 17, 2017

Safety tips for the Great American Solar Eclipse

August 21, or “The Great American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017” as it has been dubbed by some, is sure to be a memorable day as people celebrate this exciting astronomical event.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly in front of the sun, darkening the sky. According to NASA’s website, the sun will be completely obstructed from view for about 2 minutes and 43 seconds. For this reason, Kansas Department of Transportation encourages travelers to take safety precautions and prepare for a safe place to stay and view the event.

Are you planning on traveling to reach the best view of the eclipse in Kansas? According to Topeka Capital-Journal, “In Kansas, the path of totality will cross Hiawatha, Atchison, Leavenworth, and on the very edge, Kansas City. Topeka will experience a partial eclipse, with Holton being on the outermost edge of the path of totality.” The path of totality is the area where the sun will be completely blocked from view.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 200 million people live within driving distance of the eclipse’s path of totality. An increase in traffic and travel time is expected on August 21.

Some safety measures to be aware of are included in the list below. Please read carefully and be safe this August 21 – but don’t forget to enjoy this one-in-a-lifetime experience!

  • Do not pull over to the side of the highway to observe the eclipse. Exit the highway to a safe location to view and/or photograph the event.
  • Do not take photos while driving - KDOT reminds motorists to always maintain full awareness when driving to help maintain safety for all other drivers and pedestrians.
  • Do not wear opaque eclipse glasses while driving.
  • Be prepared for potential traffic congestion before, during, and after the event - While only the northeast corner of the state will be in the path of totality for the solar eclipse, the rest of Kansas will still see part of the astronomical event.
  • Turn on vehicle headlights and do not rely solely on automatic headlights during the eclipse. - Because the sky will be darkened, the use of headlights during the eclipse will be needed.  
  • Pack an emergency travel kit - Check out our blog here for a list of suggested items to include in your safety kit.
  • Plan ahead for fuel needs - Always remember to keep your gas tank full during long trips.

To all our Kansas motorist and travelers: check the weather and plan accordingly - make sure to dress properly and be fully prepared for potential weather incidents when driving long distances. Check for road conditions affected by the weather or construction.

Excited to learn more? Visit the NASA website at to learn more about #SolarEclipse2017.

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