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Transportation departments urge truckers to consider taking voluntary vacations in the days around April 8 to avoid congestion

On April 8th, a solar eclipse will stretch across the United States, from Maine to Texas. The astronomical event has caused quite a stir among the American population, to the extent that road trips have been planned to witness this astonishing celestial wonder. However, due to the high number of drivers expected on the roads around the time of the event, some state transportation departments recommend that truckers avoid traveling on the roads.

During the last solar eclipse in 2017, millions of people headed to states with better views, causing significant congestion on the roads. Hence, transportation authorities are making efforts to minimize potential traffic jams on major routes of communication. It is estimated that around 3.7 million people will undertake trips to witness the eclipse.

The approximate number of people expected to travel is so high that traffic officials warn that the day could be entirely unproductive for the freight transportation sector. They urge truckers to consider taking voluntary vacations around April 8th to avoid congestion on the roads and main routes.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation forecasts that 1.5 million people will travel to the state to witness the eclipse. Meanwhile, the Indiana Department of Transportation, through a bulletin, asks truckers to complete their loads on April 7th or 9th. Similarly, the Vermont Department of Transportation urges truckers to avoid driving on April 8th and 9th. However, it is unknown how many truckers will take such precautions.

En la imagen se muestra la trayectoria del eclipse solar 2024
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio - Michala Garrison, Ernie Wright, Ian Jones, Laurence Schuler, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

What measures will be taken during the solar eclipse?

Many truckers are reluctant to interrupt their activities due to the eclipse. Gary Langston, president and CEO of the Indiana Trucking Association, argues that freight transportation is a 24/7 operation, and truckers, accustomed to facing various driving conditions, are prepared to deal with the traffic generated by the eclipse without the need to interrupt their activities.

Langston expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Indiana Department of Transportation to find a feasible solution. However, he noted that many truckers might not have the option to avoid traveling on April 8th. Additionally, he added that loads exceeding 200,000 pounds requiring police escorts will not operate during the eclipse.

Transportation departments stressed that all drivers should prepare for eclipse traffic. AAA urged drivers to keep their headlights on and not to stop on the side of the road to view the eclipse, thus avoiding road accidents.

States like Texas and New York have announced emergency plans to have additional resources and anticipate traffic management during the eclipse. Some school districts have decided to close their doors due to the eclipse, citing safety concerns and the expected increase in traffic. And Oklahoma is requesting assistance from the National Guard to provide support during this period.

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