Apr 3, 2024 - News

Texas driving tips during the 2024 total solar eclipse

A mock-up of an eclipse highway sign.

A mock-up of an eclipse highway sign. Image courtesy of TxDOT

Worried about the prospect of car crashes during the eclipse on Monday, state and local officials are doling out special eclipse driving tips ahead of the celestial event.

Why it matters: A ton of people are headed to Central Texas, and many of them may stare skyward while walking across a street … or operating a vehicle.

Backstory: This is the first time Austin has been in the path of totality for a solar eclipse in more than 600 years and, as far as we can tell, there were no cars back then.

Fun fact: Texas Department of Transportation officials say they have been planning for two years to ensure smooth and safe traffic flow.

  • The agency will be flashing messages on highways that say "NO STOPPING ON HIGHWAY TO VIEW ECLIPSE" and "NO PARKING ON SHOULDER, KEEP MOVING."
  • Crews are also pausing some road construction and maintenance work on major corridors in the path of the eclipse April 7-9, based on traffic volumes.

Tips issued by the Texas Department of Transportation and the Austin Transportation Department include:

  • Expect sudden stops by drivers.
  • Watch out for distracted pedestrians looking to the sky.
  • Keep your headlights on while driving, even in the daylight.
  • Do not wear eclipse glasses while driving.
  • Find a safe, designated space to park before the eclipse. Do not stop in the middle of the road or on a road shoulder.

Naturally: As you head to the Hill Country, enjoy the beautiful wildflowers that'll be in bloom, but don't drive over or trample them, so they can grow back next year, per state officials.

What they're saying: "If you do happen to be on the roads during the eclipse, please be aware that the sky may darken suddenly and other drivers may be distracted," per an Austin traffic department bulletin. "Keep your focus on the road and only view the eclipse once safely parked away from the flow of traffic."

Plus: If you are using public transportation during the eclipse, be prepared for traffic delays.

  • CapMetro operators can choose to pull over during the period of total darkness, and CapMetro will be running a special rail schedule.

The bottom line: State officials are exhorting vehicle owners to "Drive friendly, the Texas way."

  • "Bring a calm and courteous attitude on the road with you."

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