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12 Tips: Preparing Fleets for the Solar Eclipse

Fleet owners and drivers should expect heavy road congestion near the path of totality.

March 21, 2024

In the week leading up to the 2017 total solar eclipse, millions of people drove to places where they could experience the unique event firsthand. The problems started after the eclipse was over, and all those drivers tried to leave for home simultaneously. On some interstates and nonfreeway routes, the traffic congestion lasted from seven to more than 15 hours, according to TR News.

How should fleets prepare for this year’s eclipse?

Preparation and Safety Considerations

On Monday, April 8, 2024, at 3:08 p.m. EST, many areas will experience the next solar eclipse. It will follow a sweeping, narrow path from Texas to Maine, including the northern half of Ohio. Visitors are expected to begin arriving up to three days before the event, with heavy traffic congestion following the event. All motorists are urged to plan before traveling to or through these areas.

Some states are considering banning certain kinds of traffic and roadside activities, stopping road construction and non-emergency maintenance on state highways, and warning truckers about the lack of available parking and hotel rooms. Some trucking companies have already decided to reduce or pause service in the most affected areas.

For fleets that plan to have trucks on the road, here are 12 tips to help them prepare:

  1. Avoid routing trucks to or through the path of the eclipse.
  2. Ensure trucks are fully fueled in case of traffic delays.
  3. Remind drivers to buckle up.
  4. Instruct drivers to turn on their headlights.
  5. Warn drivers to be alert for pedestrians who may be distracted and looking up to the sky.
  6. Instruct drivers to drive defensively and watch for nearby drivers possibly swerving into their lane.
  7. Suggest that drivers have snacks and water in the cab in case of lengthy delays.
  8. Instruct drivers to use their sun visors to block the sun and avoid looking at it.
  9. Remind drivers to put their cell phones down and avoid taking pictures of the eclipse while driving. Don’t drive distracted.
  10. Tell drivers not to wear eclipse glasses while driving.
  11. Warn drivers to use extra caution once the eclipse is over. Traffic will be at its peak.
  12. Remind drivers to be patient and polite. They are the face of the company.

Finally, if drivers plan to pull into a safe space (e.g., parking lot) to watch the eclipse, they should ensure that whatever “eclipse glasses” they purchase have been appropriately tested and will protect their eyes. Learn more about eclipse glasses here.

The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your insurance broker or trusted advisor for insurance-related questions.

Authored By:

Shawn Alexander

Shawn Alexander, Safety & Loss Control Consultant

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