Five things you should do if traveling to see the eclipse

By: Texas Gulf Coast Red Cross
| Published 04/05/2024


THE WOODLANDS, TX – A rare total solar eclipse will fill the skies from Texas to Maine on April 8, immersing people along its path into darkness. Millions are expected to travel to see the rare phenomenon and the American Red Cross has steps people should follow if planning a trip to see the eclipse.

Pack an emergency kit in case you get stuck in traffic or can’t find a place to stay. Include water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items including toilet paper, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Make a plan for where you’ll stay overnight, if needed.

  • Check the weather forecast ahead of time and plan accordingly.
  • Keep your gas tank full so you don’t run out while stuck in traffic.
  • Let someone know where you are going and the route you plan to take to get there.
  • Pick an easy to remember meeting location if someone gets separated from your group.

The eclipse will begin at sunrise over the Pacific Ocean, cutting through Mexico’s Pacific Coast at about 11:07 a.m. PT (8:07 a.m. ET) and then enter the U.S in Texas. The path goes through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Small parts of Tennessee and Michigan will also experience the total solar eclipse. The eclipse will then enter Canada and exit North America around Newfoundland, Canada. Full details from NASA are available here.

Some 31 million people living along the eclipse path will witness the rare total solar eclipse, while people in all contiguous U.S. states will be able to see at least a partial eclipse. Compared to the most recent solar eclipse in Aug. 2017, the viewing path for the 2024 total eclipse is wider and passes over more cities and densely populated areas. The upcoming eclipse is also expected to last twice as long, for about 4.5 minutes. The next opportunity to see a total solar eclipse cross over the U.S. after April 8 is more than two decades away on Aug. 23, 2044, according to NASA.

With so many people expected to travel to view the total eclipse, there could be major traffic issues and potential fuel shortages. Communication systems may also experience disruptions due to heightened demand. As part of our regular collaboration for large-scale, public events, the Red Cross is coordinating with local emergency management agencies along the viewing path to respond if necessary.

In addition to the five safety steps above, you should download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

It is not safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing. Viewing any part of the bright sun through a camera lens, binoculars or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury.

According to NASA, when watching the partial phases of the solar eclipse directly with your eyes, which happens before and after totality, you must look through safe solar viewing glasses or a safe, handheld solar viewer at all times. Eclipse glasses are NOT regular sunglasses. No matter how dark the lenses are tinted, regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing the sun. Safe solar viewers are thousands of times darker and ought to comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

Comments •
Log In to Comment