Much of South Carolina will experience heavy traffic on and around Aug. 21. That’s the day the much-anticipated total solar eclipse will pass through the state in a 65-mile wide path from Greenville to Charleston. Many law enforcement officers will have their hands full that day with traffic both from locals and the many visitors the state expects, some say up to a million people statewide.
Columbia police chief Skip Holbrook will have all his force on duty directing traffic at key points in the city, and he says his main rule to drivers is, don’t stop in traffic. Plan ahead and keep moving to your destination, and that includes not stopping in emergency lanes to look at the eclipse. Ambulances and other emergency vehicles need those lanes to move quickly if the need arises.
Highway patrol Sgt. Bob Beres adds that it’s not unsafe, but illegal to stop along the state’s interstates unless it’s an emergency. Both officers urge people to pre-plan their viewing places, use parking lots if it’s necessary to pull off the road, and limit distractions. Expecting some fender benders, Holbrook says tow trucks will be placed strategically around the city, but he hopes people will use caution so that they won’t be needed.