A spokesperson with the Tennessee Department of Transportation says that anywhere from 300,000 people to more than one million people could come to Middle Tennessee to view the solar eclipse next month, and the agency is concerned about large numbers of drivers stopping in the middle of the road when the event occurs.
Per a report by WKRN.com, Middle Tennessee is directly in the path of totality of the eclipse, which will happen on August 21. The TDOT spokesperson says that the agency views the event as being like Bonnaroo or the CMA Festival due to the large crowds that it will attract and the impact that it will have on interstates and highways in the area.
She went on to say that drivers who stop in the road or even on shoulders could pose dangers to themselves and other drivers by increasing the risk of accidents. Drivers who pull over to shoulders to watch the eclipse block paths for emergency personnel, especially if they’re responding to traffic incidents.
TDOT says that residents and visitors who plan on viewing the eclipse should have a plan for the day and be ready for potential delays and traffic jams.
Tips for Safely Viewing the Eclipse
Tennesseans and people throughout the U.S. are excited about the possibility of seeing an event that has been described as once-in-a-lifetime and something that may happen only once every 500 years. Because the path of totality will pass over Nashville, Clarksville, and other parts of Middle Tennessee, it’s important for residents and visitors to be prepared for the event.
To stay safe, you should:
- Get to your viewing destination early.
Whether you’re driving to a viewing party or just driving somewhere with unobstructed views of the sky, make sure you leave early. Interstates and highways will likely be packed with other travelers looking to stake out the best spots for viewing the astrological event. Leaving early means you’ll deal with less traffic and be less likely to be involved in an accident.
- Stay off the roads while the eclipse is occurring.
Although the eclipse has received considerable press coverage, not everyone is aware of it, and it may take some drivers by surprise. In addition, other drivers who are waiting for it may suddenly stop in the roadway or erratically move to the shoulder or other pull-off locations to watch it. Finding a safe place to park or simply arriving to your destination early will be safer than being on the road.
- Wear eclipse viewing glasses.
Although the sun will be completely obscured by the moon during the solar eclipse, looking at it will still put you at risk of suffering severe eye damage. Make sure that you and your loved ones have eclipse viewing glasses before August 21 if you plan on watching the event. The glasses can be purchased online or at many retailers throughout Middle Tennessee.
TDOT says that it plans to begin broadcasting messages on its overhead message boards on Tennessee’s highways and interstates to warn drivers about the eclipse and the dangers of stopping when it happens.
At Matt Hardin Law, we hope all drivers throughout the state remember to stay safe when they get behind the wheel and to take all necessary precautions before and after the eclipse. That means following traffic laws, not stopping in the middle of the road, and avoiding driving after consuming alcohol.
If you or someone you know was hurt in an auto accident that was caused by a negligent or careless driver, you may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation. Our Nashville auto accident attorneys have decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims, and we know how to win money for medical bills and lost wages.
Get in touch with us today by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.