One week from Monday we will experience a total solar eclipse, and East Tennessee is a top destination for hundreds of thousands of people.
According to the Great American Eclipse, as many as 1.4 million people could come to Tennessee for the eclipse.
That could mean that many more cars on the roadways.
With such an increase in anticipated traffic, state highway workers want everyone to be safe.
On highways you will see overhead signs that remind people to be prepared for Monday’s eclipse.
Highway workers don’t want you to watch the eclipse from the road.
“The absolute worst thing that anybody can do is to pull over on the side of the road or to have their car going at a very slow speed in a very high speed area to take these pictures,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesperson Mark Nagi. “Please do not do that.“
State safety officials want traffic to flow as usual, or as best it can. They also don’t want you to watch the eclipse while driving.
“Do not, please, do not try to watch the eclipse while driving on any roadway,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Stacey Heatherly.
THP will be be monitoring the roads to make sure people don’t do this, but they’ll also act as general safety monitors. THP says treat this event like any big event: have a plan and look out for each other. If you see something, say something. Also, don’t rely too much on cellular service.
“When you get into these big crowds, anybody that goes to a UT football game knows that once you’re in that big environment of a crowd like that, your cell phone service is lacking,” Heatherly said.
In the meantime, if you do have to drive during the eclipse, TDOT says to treat it like you would prepare for a winter storm.
“Make sure that if you are driving around during this eclipse, during those couple of hours when it’s going to get really dark, make sure that your lights are working,” Nagi said.