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Joe Morten & Son, Inc.Mar 25, 2024 2:37:56 PM4 min read

6 Ways Trucking Companies Can Prepare for the April 8 Eclipse

Eclipse GettyImages-1480498138

On April 8, a total eclipse will sweep across the United States in a stunning solar display, leaving much of the central and eastern United States in the dark, if only for a fleeting few minutes.  

While the bulk of the nation’s eyes will be on the skies, trucking companies will have to deal with heavier traffic loads and delays, among other concerns. 

At its best vantage points, crowds are expected to flock to the epicenter of the darkened path, resulting in expected major snarls in traffic, creating headaches for trucking companies. Traffic moving toward the middle of the path of totality beforehand will be excessive, transportation experts say, and will be equally crushing after the eclipse passes. 

Additionally, drivers often stop to view the eclipse alongside roadways, at rest stops and truck stops, and elsewhere, further slowing traffic. The Dallas Morning News reported after the 2017 eclipse that traffic delays on interstate highways in the path of totality lasted up to 13 hours. Across the nation, even non-interstate routes experienced congestion after the 2017 eclipse, including one traffic backup that stretched up to 70 miles, according to an analysis by INRIX.


Path of the April 8th eclipse


This map shows the path that the April 8 solar eclipse will take, and the times when the totality begins in select cities along its path. 

The eclipse path leads through some of America’s most populous central and eastern states, including Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and others, and is expected to cripple traffic for hours as the sun and moon converge. The metro areas of Dallas-Fort Worth and Cleveland are expected to be some of the most impacted.

In Arkansas, for instance, a Department Of Transportation report estimates that there could be 700,000 additional vehicles on the road traveling to the center of the state for the April 8 event. “Following the eclipse, most viewers will immediately leave to go home or to their place of lodging, resulting in extreme traffic volumes that far exceed the capacity of many roadways,” the Arkansas DOT said. 

The 2024 solar eclipse being the last to grace the United States until 2044, so April’s eclipse is estimated to see as many as 4 million people travel from outside the path of totality to inside it to see the eclipse. Many of the more than 31 million people who live in the path of totality may also drive to get a more optimal view of the solar event. 

Trucking associations and the DOT have encouraged truck drivers to be mindful of possible delays, and to plan accordingly. Here are six ways that truck drivers can prepare for the April 8 solar eclipse. 

plan alternative routes

Identifying alternative routes is an important part or reducing congestion. According to the 2023 American Trucking Research Institute’s Cost of Congestion study, U.S. highway traffic congestion added $94.6 billion in costs to the trucking industry. During an eclipse, this can include congestion on interstate highways as well as adjoining highways and access routes, truck stops, rest areas and any location within the eclipse’s path of totality. 

refuel early

Truck drivers should account for potential traffic delays by refueling before they reach congested areas. Sitting in stalled traffic for hours or experiencing frequent stops will increase fuel usage.

expect delays

With multi-hour delays possible, trucking companies could miss pick-up and delivery deadlines, incur extra fees, or even have volatile cargo rejected. Truck drivers in affected areas should leave early if possible, and avoid being on the road when the eclipse viewing peaks. 

be mindful of distracted drivers

With an excessive number of drivers jockeying to reach their destination, distraction will be a major concern for all drivers. Accidents, including lane-change incidents, rear-end accidents, and other common trucking accidents, are expected to increase. Drivers should be mindful of the traffic around them, especially if they are in the path of totality during the short period of total darkness. 

anticipate limited parking

Truck drivers should plan for limited parking availability at rest areas, rest stops and other off-highway stops. Even non-interstate thoroughfares and the gas stops along them, are expected to be overloaded near the path of the eclipse.  

pack extra food

Drivers should be prepared with extra food in case they experience difficulty stopping around meal time. Many stops, including rest stops, truck stops, and restaurants, will all be experiencing delays due to increased visitors. 

With some planning, trucking companies can avoid the worst of the side effects of this major solar event. In addition to truck drivers, every driver should follow these guidelines to help make the roadways safer for everyone seeking to experience this event.


Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.

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This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Joe Morten & Son, Inc. does not provide legal advice to its insureds or other  parties, nor does it advise insureds or other parties on employment-related issues, therefore the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds or other parties. Legal advice should always be sought from legal counsel. Joe Morten & Son, Inc. shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein. Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.