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AAA: Eclipse becomes tourism sensation

Submitted Editorial

Thu, Aug 17th 2017 01:20 pm
Drivers need to take precautions to avoid distraction on Monday
By AAA of Western and Central New York
On Monday, Aug. 21, the continental U.S. will experience a total solar eclipse for the first time since 1979.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth and partially or completely blocks the sun from view for up to three hours.
While a partial eclipse will be visible throughout the country, 14 states along the path of totality will see the moon completely block the sun. These states include: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
AAA anticipates that cities along the path of totality will experience high tourist volumes and increased traffic through the weekend of Aug. 18-21. NASA reports the eclipse will first be visible in Lincoln Beach, Oregon, at 9:05 a.m. PDT, with a total eclipse occurring at 10:16 a.m. PDT. Over the next hour and a half, the total eclipse will pass 14 states, ending near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT.
Even here in New York, excitement is building over the viewing. That could lead to distractions for motorists. AAA offers this advice:
•Do not attempt to watch the solar eclipse while driving! The better option is to find a safe place to park, and then observe the eclipse. The peak darkness phase will last just 2-3 minutes. NASA has created an interactive map that allows you to view when the eclipse will be visible in your area.
According to NASA, you should avoid looking directly at the sun without proper eyewear protection. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as "eclipse glasses" or hand-held solar viewers.
•Drive safely. Eagerness to view the eclipse is not an acceptable reason to drive aggressively or while distracted.
•Drive with your headlights on. Not only will you will be much more visible to other drivers, your forward vision will be improved.
•Watch out for pedestrians! There may be many people standing in or along the roadway to get a glimpse.
•Be alert to the possibility of distracted drivers swerving into your lane. Other drivers may be attempting to watch the eclipse and drive at the same time.
•To help prevent trouble, keep additional space between you and other vehicles. Reduce your speed so you will have more time to make an emergency maneuver if needed.
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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