ATLANTA, GA – Whether you plan to witness nature’s spectacle of a total solar eclipse in northeast Georgia or to appreciate the partial eclipse in other areas of the state, Georgia DOT wants your day to be memorable – for all the right reasons.
While the actual eclipse process will last for three hours on Monday afternoon – from about 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. – in an effort to ensure safety and ease traffic congestion Georgia DOT is suspending construction-related lane closures on interstate and secondary routes—in parts of northeast Georgia and in metro Atlanta—from noon to 7 p.m. on eclipse day – Monday, August 21. In addition, GDOT Highway Emergency Response Operators (HEROs) and Coordinated Highway Assistance & Maintenance Program operators (CHAMPs) will be on the highways in full force to respond to emergencies, assist motorists and to clear incidents.
While Georgia DOT always encourages safe driving, the department urges drivers to take extra precautions before, during and after the eclipse to ensure a great day.
“We are expecting an influx of motorists traveling into and through the metro region and to the northern part of the state. This creates the potential for traffic congestion, which could lead to crashes,” said State Traffic Engineer Andrew Heath. “We suggest drivers have a plan, leave early for their viewing location, and exercise patience on the return trip. And remember to always buckle up, stay off the phone and to drive alert.”
These eclipse tips may be obvious, but they are worth emphasizing:
- Try to avoid driving on Monday afternoon. If possible, work from home or change your work hours.
- Don’t stop on the shoulder of state routes or interstates during the eclipse. Find a safe viewing place to park off the roadway system.
- Do not look at the sun and do not wear your eclipse glasses while driving! Be sure to use them after you get to your destination to view the partial or total eclipse.
- Use your headlights if you must drive during the eclipse.
- Watch out for pedestrians – especially on side roads.
Know before you go. Before getting into your car – call 511 or visit 511ga.org where you can access statewide, route-specific information on crashes, road work, traffic and weather. Callers can transfer to operators to report incidents or request assistance on interstate or state routes throughout Georgia.
Georgia DOT offers complimentary interstate highway assistance 24/7 for motorists across Georgia. The long-standing Highway Emergency Response Operators (HERO) program services metro Atlanta, while the Coordinated Highway Assistance & Maintenance Program (CHAMP) services the rest of the state. Call 511 for vehicle assistance or to report an issue.