South Carolina is expected to see just over two million additional visitors for the much-anticipated solar eclipse on Monday.
Because the path of the eclipse sweeps from the Upstate to the Lowcountry, traffic congestion is likely going to be at record highs for the year – with Interstate 95 at Santee serving as a major artery.
According to the GreatAmericanEclipse.com website, Santee is the number one spot for drivers who want the quickest route to a destination in the path of totality, according to the website.
Santee is the closest destination for 74.6 million Americans along the eastern portion of the country.
According to the website’s national analysis, the tenth-ranked area is Greenville and the twelfth is Columbia.
Santee Police Chief Bing Jones said he doesn’t know what to expect, traffic-wise.
“This is the one time in my career that I really don’t know what to expect,” he said.
S.C. Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Judd Jones said 120 additional state troopers will be on Interstate 26 to assist with traffic from just above the Midlands all the way to Charleston.
He urges drivers to remember that it is unsafe to pull over on the side of the interstate unless there is an emergency situation.
He said it’s not illegal to pull over along a U.S. highway, but he recommends that those who choose to view the solar eclipse find a safer place before Monday.
He also noted that while there have been numerous news reports about the upcoming solar eclipse, there may be travelers who are unaware and may panic when the sky begins to darken in the middle of the afternoon.
He recommends drivers to be alert and aware of other drivers who may not be focused on driving.
The S.C. Highway Patrol issued the following safety tips:
• Expect congestion/travel delays.
• Work commuters should plan alternate routes.
• Do not stop in the roadway to view the eclipse.
• Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your viewing location.
• Take supplies such as water, snacks and medicine as though you are traveling on a long trip.
• Ensure you have a full tank of gas before leaving your viewing destination.
• Call 911 only for life-safety emergencies.
• Watch out for disoriented/distracted drivers.
• Stay tuned to local media.
• Follow SCDPS on social media for updates.