According to experts, the solar eclipse that is scheduled for August 21, 2017 is going to be one of the “largest causes of distracted driving seen in years.”
According to information from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the last time that a solar eclipse affected the U.S. (from coast to coast), there were only 6.2 million registered motor vehicles in the entire country.
After all, in 1978, automobiles were still considered somewhat of a new “fad.” As a result, when the moon, earth and sun were all perfectly aligned that year, the chances of someone being involved in, injured or even dying due to solar eclipse-related distracted driving accident was slim to none.
Is Distracted Driving a Concern for 2017’s Solar Eclipse?
Due to the sheer number of registered vehicles in the US in 2015 – 263.6 million to be exact – many federal transportation officials are somewhat concerned. The more drivers there are on the road during the eclipse, the higher likelihood for distraction, which increases the possibility of accidents.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving During the Eclipse
While it is easy for officials to say “don’t stare at the eclipse while behind the wheel,” it may be easier said than done. After all, this is an event that isn’t going to happen again in most people’s lifetimes. However, it’s important not to look at the eclipse just while you are driving – if you don’t have the proper eye protection, you may seriously injure your eyes by looking at the eclipse regardless of where you are.
While there are some schools that have postponed starting until after the 21st, this isn’t true for all parts of the nation. As a result, there are going to be people on the road, not to mention those going to and from work, returning home from vacation or just running errands. All this congestion is going to lead to many accidents, some believe.
Tips to Reduce the Potential for a Distracted Driving Accident During the Eclipse
While some of the tips here may seem like common sense, they are worth repeating.
- Don’t try to watch the eclipse while you are behind the wheel.
- Don’t pull over on the side of the road to try and watch it.
- There are going to be pedestrians everywhere, so make sure to avoid hitting someone who may not be paying attention.
- Turn your headlights on, since in some areas the total length of time it will be dark will exceed 2.5 minutes.
- Watch for construction and know if there is any in your path prior to leaving home (or work).
One of the best ways to avoid being involved in a distracted driving accident during the solar eclipse is to avoid driving during the time it is passing over. This will eliminate the possibility that you are going to hit or be hit by someone who is busy watching what is going on in the sky.
If you ever are involved in a distracted driving accident, make sure to hire a personal injury attorney. They can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve from the responsible party.