From the Blog

Tips for Enjoying the Total Solar Eclipse

The total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, will cast much of Indiana in a state of total darkness. Excitement is building across the state, and the state is expecting to see over anywhere from 145,000 to 581,000 out-of-state visitors traveling to view this solar event. We want to ensure that you’re prepared to safely enjoy the eclipse.

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when the moon’s orbit is directly between the sun and the earth, blocking sunlight from hitting the earth. Indiana is in the path of totality, which means that several locations across the state will be cast in total darkness for a few minutes. This solar eclipse is a big deal because portions of Indiana will not be in the path of totality for a total solar eclipse again until 2099.

With so many out-of-state visitors traveling to view the total solar eclipse, increased traffic is expected even in rural areas where heavy traffic is not common. The Indiana State Police expects gridlocked traffic in many areas. Whether you are planning to travel to a site in the path of totality or watching the eclipse from your backyard, we’ve listed some tips to stay safe and ensure you have the best viewing experience.

Before the event

  • Plan ahead. If you’re traveling to see the eclipse, choose a destination ahead of time. Many areas in the state are hosting events dedicated to the eclipse. Plan your route to get to the event, and leave early to allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Expect traffic delays. A map of viewing locations is available here:
  • Be prepared. Since long traffic delays are expected, there’s no telling how long you could be stuck. Pack water bottles and snacks in a cooler. With the unpredictable Indiana weather, a few blankets wouldn’t hurt!
  • During the partial eclipse, only look at the sun while wearing your eclipse glasses. Looking at the partial eclipse without eclipse glasses or with sunglasses can cause damage to your eyes, known as solar retinopathy.
  • Designate a sober driver or alternate form of transportation to get home after the event

During the event

Ideally, you should already be at your chosen viewing site, but here’s what to do if you find yourself on the road during the total solar eclipse:

  • Wear your solar eclipse glasses during the partial eclipse. Glasses do not need to be worn during totality when the moon is totally covering the sun, but keep in mind that totality may only last a minute in some areas.
  • Do not take photos or videos while driving
  • Do not wear your eclipse glasses while driving. The lenses are extremely dark and impair vision. Eclipse glasses are only meant for viewing the eclipse.
  • Pull off the highway onto an exit. Do not pull onto the side of the highway
  • Watch for pedestrians and other traffic
  • Turn on your headlights during the event

After the event

The time of totality will end by 3:15 pm Eastern in Indiana, and the partial eclipse will end by 4:30 pm. Thousands of people will be on the roads after the eclipse, creating a unique kind of “rush hour.”

  • Wait to leave the event site until peak traffic has passed. With everyone rushing to head home immediately after the event, traffic can become gridlocked within only fifteen minutes.
  • Clean up your area and dispose of any trash
  • Consider staying overnight in the area.

Remember, arrive early, stay put, and leave late. While many may think of the eclipse as more of a three-hour event, in reality, it will be a three-day event as traffic flows into the state and eventually disperses for the event.