Several South Carolina officials want citizens to be prepared for traffic, delays and even dangerous accidents caused by the rare eclipse and an influx of visitors to the state.
A lot of things could happen around that event and we’re prepared for those,” Major General Robert Livingston said. “Have a plan. It’s going to get dark a little bit after 2 p.m. across the state.”
The eclipse will leave cities like Greenville, Anderson, Columbia, Sumter, Orangeburg, Charleston and towns along the I-26 corridor in darkness for up to two and a half minutes.
Because of the phenomenon, officials say it's best to stay off roadways and plan out a location ahead of time to view the eclipse.
“There will be congestion and there will be delays,” Major Rob Woods with the S.C. Highway Patrol said. “We will have numbers of highway patrolmen already staffed along the interstate, at U.S. highways and specific points, so that if congestion becomes extreme, to the point of stand-still, that we’ll be in a posture along key portions along the interstate to relieve that pressure by diverting traffic.
The S.C. Department of Transportation will suspend lane closures from Aug. 19 – 22 to reduce congestion due to the upwards of 1.2 million expected to come into the state. Overhead message boards on interstates will remind drivers not to look at the sun while driving. Eclipse glasses should never be worn while driving.
Boaters who plan to watch the eclipse from a waterway in the state should get on the water early, the Department of Natural Resources said, since boat launches will be very active on eclipse day, Aug. 21.
Eclipse Day tips:
- When you get to an eclipse event, stay there until the event is over.
- Think about the heat and stay hydrated during the day.
- Stay in the shade and be aware of the sun.
- Wear eclipse glasses during partial eclipse and after full eclipse.
- Do not look through unfiltered binoculars or telescopes, even with eclipse glasses.
- Plan ahead. Don’t be in a rush.
- Don’t stop in the road, don’t stop on shoulders, don’t stop in emergency lanes.
- Boaters should approach the day, as if it is a busy holiday with congested boat launches.
- Boaters are recommended to have their lights on but are not legally required to do so.
- Make sure all boat passengers have a life jacket.
More safety information for residents, visitors and businesses can be found here.