Indianapolis News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local News


Driving for the solar eclipse? Prepare for astronomical traffic

INDOT, Indiana State Police making special preparations for April 8.
I-70 and I-465 Interchange
Posted at 7:10 PM, Mar 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-20 11:21:24-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Tens of thousands of tourists are coming to Indiana for the solar eclipse next month, which means driving that day may take much longer than usual.

The Indiana Department of Transportation and Indiana State Police are warning Hoosiers about the astronomical traffic expected on April 8. Both agencies have made precautions to deal with the likely standstill traffic across the state before and after the eclipse.

"We have decided that there will be no construction that day in our East Central district, so we're going to remove our crews from the roads," said Kyleigh Cramer of INDOT.

"For ISP, it's all hands on deck," said Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine. "We've canceled all days off for that day and every trooper in the state will be working on April 8."

Both agencies say drivers should take much more time than they expect while driving to their eclipse viewing spot, despite an instinct to treat it like a normal commute.

"I think there's an element of selfishness. People think 'Im going to leave when I want to leave at the point where I want to get there,' and then they're going to find themselves in that traffic," Perrine said. "They're going to be running late, which may lead to aggressive driving, which could lead to a crash. You could see the chain of events based on selfishness that could lead to issues for other people."

"Think of it like a football game," Cramer said. "You're not leaving in the fourth quarter, you're staying until the game is done, and making sure you stay a little in the parking lot."

If you happen to be on the highway when the eclipse starts at 3:07 p.m., INDOT says do not pull off to the shoulder and instead find an exit or rest stop. INDOT also recommends turning your headlights to on instead of auto right before the sky gets dark.

Remember, safety first. Expect heavier than normal traffic before and after the eclipse. AAA recommends:

  • Keep your vehicle’s headlights on.
  • Put the sun visor down to block your view of the sun.
  • Don’t wear eclipse glasses while driving.
  • Don’t try to photograph or video the eclipse while driving.
  • Don’t pull over to the side of the road, highway, or interstate to view the eclipse.
  • Exit the roadway and park in a safe area away from traffic to view the eclipse.
  • Be mindful of pedestrians who may be walking around with their eyes on the sky!