On August 21, millions of people across the country will experience the first total solar eclipse to cross America coast-to-coast in 99 years. In addition to those who live in the “path of totality,” which includes a large part of the Kansas City region, up to 7 million people nationwide are expected to travel to see the eclipse. Emergency management agencies, transportation officials and organizations like the American Red Cross are planning for traffic problems and other challenges that may be associated with the event.

The partial eclipse will begin at around 11:41 A.M in Independence, with totality occurring at 1:08 P.M. There should be about 1m 10s of totality. The partial eclipse will end at 2:36 pm.

Here are some basic tips:

  • Avoid driving altogether during the eclipse if you can. If you must, drive with extra caution.
  • Don’t stop along the road or park on the shoulder during the event. Pull over and park in a safe location (a legal parking spot) to view and/or photograph the eclipse.
  • Don’t take photographs while driving!
  • Protect your eyes. The only safe way to look directly at sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. If you buy eclipse glasses, buy from a reputable vendor and make sure the glasses meet ISO 12312-2 international safety standards. Don’t wear them while driving.
  • Watch out for pedestrians along the roads. People may be randomly parking and walking alongside the roadside in the hours around the eclipse to get the best view.
  • Turn your headlights on, don’t rely on your automatic headlights to turn on.
  • Prepare for extra congestion especially on the highways on the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.
  • Fill up your gas tank in advance, charge your cell phone, and make a plan for staying in touch with family if your cell phone service becomes unavailable.
  • Pack an emergency kit in case you get stuck in traffic or can’t find a place to stay. Include water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items including toilet paper, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

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