WASHINGTON, D.C. – For two minutes on Monday the world will go dark in 14 states, causing a huge distraction for drivers.
Although there are about two solar eclipses a year visible from somewhere on Earth, August 21 marks the first time a total solar eclipse will be able to be viewed from the mainland United States in 38 years.
Concerned about motorists on the road during the event, the U.S. Department of Transportation has set up a website detailing what precautions drivers should take for the, approximately, two minutes the sun will disappear from view in states running from the northwestern to the southeastern part of the U.S.
Drivers are being warned not to stop if driving during the eclipse, to turn on their headlights, and not to stare directly at the sun during the event without the use of special glasses. Staring at the sun during an eclipse could cause blindness or other retinal damage. Eclipse glasses could impair normal vision, and should not be worn while driving.
Extra congestion is expected on roadways on Monday as thousands of people are expected to be driving to areas where the total eclipse will be viewable. Drivers should also be prepared to watch for those exiting their cars at the side of the road to get a look at the phenomenon.
A total eclipse is caused when the new moon passes between the sun and the earth. The last one visible from the continental U.S. was in March 1979.
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