BLOG: So you’re planning to travel to see the total eclipse? Uh - | WBTV Charlotte

BLOG: So you’re planning to travel to see the total eclipse? Uh oh...

(WBTV) -

The beauty of having a total solar eclipse cutting a swath across the entire state of South Carolina from Clemson through Columbia through North Charleston is obvious, we have an ‘easy’ morning drive to reach the path of totality as it crosses just after 2:30 pm. Or do we?

The problem is, there are tens of millions of people who live on the east coast within a day’s drive who may have the same idea - to head down I-95 or I-77 and camp out in the rather narrow 70-mile-wide path.

Other things compounding this problem are people like me, and the time of year. If the media is doing their job, we should all be screaming about this upcoming event since it is so rare and so exciting. But keep in mind, for most, August 21st is still vacation season with schools yet to start. So virtually everyone is free to travel this month.

Beyond the potential of insane traffic, other factors are likely to increase the danger of traveling before or during the eclipse as people will be pulling over on roads in unsafe areas and distracted drivers may be at an all-time high. And if there is just one simple fender-bender while the traffic is as thick as some are thinking, I have heard one prediction saying I-77 traffic could be a parking lot from Columbia, SC to Lake Norman!!

Here are some additional tips should you gamble on driving the morning of the 21st:

  • Keep your gas tank full
  • Have food, water and toilet paper
  • Cell phone systems may be overwhelmed
  • Hats and sunscreen
  • Use your navigation system to monitor real-time traffic data
  • Have a good eclipse map in case you need to relocate or change course

The accompanying picture shows the estimated number of people expected to visit South Carolina for the eclipse. The estimate runs as high as over two million people. No state in the country is expecting more visitors than SC. Get this, Oregon is only expecting a low of 174,000 and a high of 695,000 and yet the governor is calling out the National Guard to help with crisis management that day, wow!

If you are interested in the entire article and traffic analysis I’ve just discussed, here is the web link, along with some other traffic-related articles and discussions:

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