Heavy traffic expected today due to eclipse

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Officials are warning about heavy traffic today due to the eclipse.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol wants to be sure motorists heading to a vantage point for the upcoming solar eclipse don't let their experience get overshadowed by traffic problems.

Digital signs on I-40 near Harrison Avenue and on the Wade Avenue extension warn about the increased traffic.

RELATED: How to safely watch the total solar eclipse

Traffic is expected to be heavy in the afternoon and evening on the I-95 corridor as people head home after watching the eclipse in South Carolina.

The State Highway Patrol advises you to arrive early if you're watching the eclipse so there aren't too many people on the road at once.

Here are some more tips:

  • Watch out for pedestrians and distracted drivers.

  • Don't wear your eclipse glasses while driving.

  • Don't stop within the roadway to watch the eclipse. Try to find a designated parking spot.

  • Plan alternate routes

  • Have food and water on hand

Once you are in a safe place to watch the eclipse, you will need special glasses to look directly at it or you could permanently damage your eyes. Here is why: When you were a kid, you may have used a magnifying glass to focus sunlight on a leaf and get it to start smoking. It can happen in just a few seconds. Your eye is also a magnifying glass.

RELATED: What makes this eclipse so rare? And more facts and figures

If you stare at the sun, you can focus the energy onto the retina of your eye and literally burn it. And because you don't have pain receptors there, it can happen without you even knowing it. Here's a great video put together by our web team explaining what you should look for when buying protective eyewear:

For more information, check out our eclipse section at abc11.com. Safe travels!
Related topics:
trafficsolar eclipse
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