Eyes on the road

Published 10:09 am Thursday, August 17, 2017

With the relative rarity of Monday’s solar eclipse, many people are expected to be traveling the roads to find the perfect spot to view the astronomical event.

First Sergeant Rodney Sawyer of the state Highway Patrol office in Ahoskie cautioned people on the roads to be safe, whether they are planning to travel to the path of totality or just simply on the road during the event.

Traffic is expected to be heavy throughout the state as people travel down to South Carolina or to the mountains in the southwestern corner of North Carolina. Sgt. Sawyer suggested that people plan to leave early for their destination and to expect traffic delays.

“Monitor local traffic reports,” he said in case there are any important traffic updates.

For drivers who are simply out on the roads during the duration of the eclipse, Sgt. Sawyer had a few more reminders:

Do not stop on the roadway, and refrain from pulling off on the shoulder as well.

Find a parking lot or another safe location.

Do not wear eclipse glasses while driving.

Activate headlights and increase the following distance from other drivers.

Be aware of potentially distracted drivers and take care not to drive distracted as well.

Sgt. Sawyer also wanted to remind people that 911 should only be used for emergency situations and not for information. He suggested people visit www.drivenc.gov for updates on traffic throughout the state.

“Be safe, be smart, be in a safe location,” Sawyer concluded.

Information provided in a statement by the NCDOT echoed the same points as the Highway Patrol. They encouraged people to “arrive early, stay put, leave late.”

Roadwork on primary routes in the 17 westernmost counties will be suspended between Friday evening and Tuesday afternoon. The NCDOT will monitor other major highways and may reopen some lane closures if heavy traffic backups occur.