Traffic Tips For Navigating Idaho Eclipse

Aug 18, 2017

Fact: Traffic will be bad on highways leading to the path of totality.
Credit Roadsidepictures / Flickr

As luck would have it, many of the small towns scattered across Idaho in the path of totality for this Monday’s solar eclipse are only accessible by small, two-lane roads. We’ve got some tips for those driving to watch day turn to night.

They say patience is a virtue, and for the next several days, all of us should strive to be virtuous – at least while we’re behind the wheel. The fact is, the roads will be utterly packed as people make their way to the path of totality.

Matthew Conde with AAA Idaho says the Gem State, with its 1.7 million people, is in store for a momentary population spike.

“We expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 eclipse tourists in Idaho and about a million in Oregon,” Conde says.

Tourists and locals alike will be hitting the road to get to the path of totality that passes over small towns like Weiser, Cascade and Ketchum.

Before heading out, Conde recommends giving your car the once over.

“You want to make sure that fluid levels are right for your car, especially your coolant,” he adds. “Make sure the tire pressure is where it ought to be.”

With their small size, it’s a given Highways 55, 95 and 75 will be jam packed. But even the bigger freeways could be trouble.

“We would see Interstate 84 being highly congested as well, so definitely even major freeways are going to see significant traffic. One car accident could lead to severe bumper-to-bumper,” he says.

AAA’s roadside assistance services will be stretched thin in the days around the eclipse. Conde says incidents will be prioritized based on severity.

“If you’re broken down in a point of safety or at home with a dead battery, you’re not going to probably rate as high as someone who’s stranded on the 55 that we need to get out of the way,” according to Conde.

AAA expects flat tires, lockouts and dead batteries to be the main issues they’ll be dealing with.

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