When a solar eclipse treks across the U.S. in early April, it won’t be completely visible in Chicago and Illinois.
While you might be able to catch a glimpse of it from home, you won’t have to travel too far to see the eclipse in all its glory. Parts of southern Illinois and Indiana will be in the path of totality.
If you’re thinking about making the drive for the big event on April 8, prepare for other like-minded folks to be doing the same. So many people are expected to visit Indiana for the spectacle, police are warning residents and visitors to anticipate a surge in traffic and congestion as they travel to their destination.
According to the Indiana State Police, hundreds of thousands are expected to visit Indiana, with the areas near the eclipse center line, such as Vincennes, Bloomington, Franklin and Bluffton, expected to see the most visitors.
Carbondale, strategically positioned in the path of totality, braces for an awe-inspiring celestial spectacle Southern Illinois University (SIU) will be offering exclusive tickets to witness the celestial event.
To make the trip as easy as possible, state police and the Indiana Department of Transportation are urging drivers to plan ahead and prepare for travel impacts before, during and after the eclipse:
Ahead of time
- Research your viewing site, considering accessibility, parking and crowd size. Check INDOT TrafficWise on the mobile app or at 511in.org to plan your route and monitor traffic conditions. Plan to arrive early.
- Anticipate increased traffic and congestion, especially in areas in or near the path of totality.
- Buckle up and put your phone down while driving.
- Pack plenty of snacks and water, as well as charging cables for electronics and mobile devices, in the event you or your group become stranded.
- Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas and top off fluids before you head out in case you’re stuck in traffic for a long period of time.
- Don’t forget your solar eclipse viewing glasses! You will need specially designed glasses to avoid damage to your eyes.
During the eclipse
- Avoid travel during the eclipse or in the main path if possible.
- Exit the roadway to stop and view the solar eclipse. Do not stop along highways or park on the shoulder for viewing.
- Do not take photos or videos while driving – remember Indiana is a hands-free state. Holding mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets while driving is prohibited by state law.
- Do not wear eclipse glasses while driving.
- Turn on your headlights and do not rely on automatic lights.
- Watch for pedestrians, especially along secondary roads.
After the eclipse
- Plan your post-event transportation method well in advance. If celebrating, ensure everyone has a safe and sober way to return home. Designate a sober driver or arrange for alternate transportation.
- Exercise patience when leaving your viewing location as traffic may be heavy. Follow instructions from law enforcement or emergency personnel and be considerate of fellow drivers.
- Stay put and stick around to avoid the post-event rush.
- Clean up after yourself and dispose of trash in designated receptacles, or take it with you.
- Once again, check INDOT TrafficWise on the mobile app or at 511in.org to plan your route and monitor traffic conditions.
- INDOT will limit road closures and restrictions where possible on state routes to help with traffic flow surrounding the eclipse. View current construction and maintenance activities on INDOT’s TrafficWise map or the free mobile app.