‘Pack your patience’: Ohio agencies urge preparation, caution ahead of solar eclipse

It’s all hands on deck for safety concerns when it comes to the April 8 solar eclipse, Ohio agencies say while urging preparation, patience, and caution when it comes time.

“Don’t call 911 because you are stuck in traffic,” said Phil Clayton, regional supervisor of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Anywhere from 125,000 to more than 500,000 people are expected to visit Ohio on April 8. Because of this influx of people—including many who will hit the road after the solar eclipse ends—motorists should anticipate traffic delays, particularly in the areas of totality.

People should select and map out their viewing destinations before leaving home, Clayton said, and they should have a plan in place in case dangerous weather occurs.

The total eclipse in the Dayton area will begin at about 3:08 pm and last 2 minutes and 42 seconds on April 8, according to Public Health — Dayton and Montgomery County.

“Always pack your patience,” Clayton said.

In addition to a full tank, Ohioans and visitors to the region should be prepared with emergency kits and snacks in their vehicle if they’re traveling the day of the solar eclipse and get stopped in a traffic jam.

It’s possible there will be traffic jams that last up to 13 hours after the eclipse, according to Public Health.

“We are trying to remind those who will be traveling and also those in the area to expect a very busy roadway that day and long delays,” said Mandi Dillon, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation.



The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to minimize construction areas as much as possible on April 8 to improve traffic conditions, she said.

One of the best things people can do is come early and stay late, she said. Local agencies have tallied up approximately 460 community events happening in the region on April 8.

Internet and cellular service outages may occur on April 8 due to the large number of people being anticipated for the area. Sgt. Tyler Ross of the Ohio State Highway Patrol recommended people have paper maps on hand.

“Don’t rely on electronics,” Ross said.

The next total solar eclipse visible in Ohio won’t take place until 2099, but that’s not an excuse for distracted driving or stopping on the side of the highway, the patrol says.

“If you miss it, you miss it,” Ross said. “I know it’s a rare event, but it’s not worth your life.”

In the last five years, Ohio has had more than 1,600 crashes related to distracted driving that caused a fatality or serious injury, Ross said.



Stopping on the side of the highway or exit ramps is prohibited, he said, unless it is an emergency.

“It is not safe,” Ross said.

Troopers will be highly visible on April 8, he said, enforcing all traffic laws and ready to assist. People can call #677 to report any dangerous driving or stranded motorists.

If drivers see stranded motorists, crew working, or law enforcement working on the sides of the highway, drivers should slow down and move over to give the workers space, these state agencies said.

With these larger crowds come a number of unknowns, Dillon said.

The weather may impact where those crowds of people end up viewing the eclipse.

“If it does call for clouds, we expect travelers to push south, so then it will affect Butler County, Hamilton County, get down into Warren County,” Ross said.

Because of the unknown weather, Ross said everyone, including those away from main roadways and highways, should be prepared for traffic congestion on April 8.

“We’re doing the best we can to plan for it,” Ross said.

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