DOT warns against distracted driving during eclipse

By Eric DuVall  |  Updated Aug. 19, 2017 at 6:24 PM
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Aug. 19 (UPI) -- With millions of people expected to travel into the "path of totality" for Monday's solar eclipse, the U.S. Department of Transportation said traffic accidents are more likely and issued guidelines for safe driving during the event.

Communities in the narrow band where the entire outline of the sun will be blocked out are likely to experience a huge surge of visitors -- and many began already experienced increased traffic for the once-in-a-lifetime event Thursday and Friday.

The DOT cautioned events like an eclipse, especially a total solar eclipse, can cause a rash of vehicle accidents, primarily due to distracted driving.

The DOT issued a list of bullet points for motorists driving during the eclipse to heed:

• Do not stop or park on the side of interstates or thruways. Not only is it a traffic violation for motorists to stop on a highway unless they're experiencing an emergency, it increases the likelihood of an accident.

• Do not take your eyes off the road to view the eclipse or use cellphones or cameras while driving to photograph the eclipse.

• Do not wear eclipse safety glasses while driving. The glasses filter out most visible light, essentially blinding motorists.

• Those living or staying inside or near the path of totality should avoid unnecessary road travel on Monday due to the increased volume.

• If you're behind the wheel when the sun is entirely or mostly blocked, turn on your headlights.

Depending on your location, when the eclipse appears will vary. Plan travel accordingly if possible, the DOT said.

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