DU QUOIN, IL (KFVS) - Illinois State Police encourages viewers of the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse to begin their preparations now.
"With the eclipse less than two weeks out, we want to make sure Southern Illinoisans, and the attendees that will be coming into the area, are ready to safely enjoy this event," stated ISP District 12/22 Commander, Lieutenant Michael Alvey.
The ISP has been working with local police, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other local agencies to ensure that they are ready to handle the crowds of people traveling to Southern Illinois.
"We have been planning for months with our local partners and want the public to be aware of a few things to help make this event as safe as it can be," said Alvey.
Crowds of 50,000 to 200,000 people are estimated in the Carbondale area and other local areas.
The ISP expects Interstate 57, U.S, Route 51, and Illinois Route 13 passages to be the most traveled roads from Friday, August 15, through Tuesday, August 22.
"Southern Illinois is a great place to live and work," added Commander Alvey.
"This event gives us the opportunity to showcase our communities to visitors from across the nation. With some pre-planning and our minds focused on safety, this can be the event of a lifetime."
Do not drive wearing solar eclipse glasses or taking photographs.
The glasses are only needed while looking directly at the sun.
Make sure to turn on your vehicle's headlights because of the darkness created by the passing shadow.
Do not stop along the highway to watch the eclipse.
Viewing should only take place in a safe location away from traffic.
Motorists traveling should plan ahead for extra traffic congestion and allow additional travel time.
Check http://www.gettingaroundillinois.com or real-time traffic apps for local traffic information before traveling.