Aug. 15, 2017 – The first cross-country solar eclipse since the advent of the automobile is heading our way Monday, Aug. 21. And, while it won’t shroud Oklahoma in complete darkness, drivers will see and feel the difference while on the road, which could lead to some distracted driving behavior.
Most of Oklahoma will experience 80 to 90 percent obstruction of sunlight over the lunch hour on Aug. 21 when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun.
“As spectacular as this once-in-a-lifetime event will be, if you happen to catch a glimpse of it while behind the wheel, by all means, don’t turn your eyes away from the road,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Aside from damaging your eyes, looking at the eclipse while driving is distracted driving at its worst. In fact, AAA recommends staying off the road during the eclipse. But if you have to drive keep sun visors and cell phones down to protect your eyes, don’t give in to the temptation to look at the sun, and avoid all distractions.”
AAA Warns: Expect Traffic Jams
- Sky gazers could take to the roads at the last minute, looking for a good view of the eclipse.
- August 21 is still summer vacation time for many – there may be increased travel (and subsequently traffic) up to and including Aug. 21.
- Pack your patience, whether traveling great distance or locally, people will be out and about to catch a glimpse of the eclipse.
AAA Driver Safety Tips during the Solar Eclipse
- Keep headlights on.
- Put the sun visor down to block your view of the sun.
- Don’t wear eclipse glasses while driving.
- Don’t try to photograph or video the eclipse while driving.
- Don’t pull over to the side of the road, highway or interstate to view the eclipse.
- Exit the roadway and park in a safe area away from traffic to view the eclipse.
NASA reports that the eclipse will first be visible in Lincoln Beach, Ore. at 11:05 a.m. Oklahoma time, with a total eclipse occurring at 12:16 p.m., Oklahoma time. Over the next hour and a half, the total eclipse will pass over 14 states, ending near Charleston, S.C. at 1:48 p.m., Oklahoma time.
NASA has created an interactive map that allows you to view when the eclipse will be visible in your area.
The 14 states along the path of totality include: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and nearly 97,000 members in South Dakota. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.