Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons

Unless you haven't been out much, you've seen the news: a solar eclipse is coming. Researchers are predicting up to 7.5 million people throughout the United States will travel up to 60 miles to experience the event, which will cause a serious influx in regular traffic patterns.

In fact, according to the U.S. DOT, fleets lose more than 30 billion vehicle hours due to weather-related congestion each year with an estimated cost to trucking companies of up to $3.5 billion dollars.

The eclipse also has the potential to knock out power and nuclear reactors, drop the temperature 20-30 degrees and cause widespread cellular outages.

According to the solar eclipse path of totality map, several cities are likely to see an influx of traffic. These locations and high-traffic times include:

  • Santee, S.C., at 2:45 p.m. EDT
  • Idaho Falls, Idaho, at 11:33 a.m. MDT
  • Sabetha, Kan., at 1:00 p.m. CDT
  • White House, Tenn., at 1:28 p.m. CDT (located just outside of Nashville)
  • Goreville, Ill., at 1:21 p.m. CDT
  • Salem, Ore., at 10:18 a.m. PDT

How should fleets and drivers prepare? 

“Truck drivers who may be on-duty in or near these high-traffic areas during the time of the event can use in-cab routing and planning technologies, in addition to navigation systems to help avoid traffic jams and unnecessary costs,” said Lauren Domnick, senior director of analytics & modeling for Omnitracs. “Since the industry hasn’t experienced this level of a solar eclipse in years, being extra cautious before, during and after the event is necessary. If you are on the road and have the option to avoid high-traffic areas, definitely take advantage of an alternate route.”