Plan ahead, be prepared, have patience

Plan ahead and be prepared before you head out to view April’s solar eclipse.

And be patient.

On March 13, several state agencies discussed plans and offered tips to those traveling to Northwest Ohio to see the total eclipse.

“Pack your patience and fill your tank,” said Sean Miller, Ohio Emergency Management Agency regional operations chief.

Travelers are urged to arrive early and stay late to avoid the heaviest traffic.

Check out the restaurants, shops and historical sites upon arriving in the area and before leaving, Miller said.

“Come early and stay late,” he said. “That way, the traffic will be more staggered than a mad rush.”

The Ohio EMA coordinated the state’s preparedness and response to the eclipse.

Miller advised travelers to make a preparedness kit for the vehicle and include snacks, drinks, cash, cell phone chargers and blankets.

“That way if you do get caught up in traffic, you’re ready,” he said.

Miller also advised it was a good idea to have a family communication plan in the event you get separated.

Cell phone service may be overwhelmed, so the best way to communicate is by text or social media, he said.

He said his agency worked with the cell phone providers on where some of the congested areas might be, so they are aware of where their networks will be hit the hardest.

One likely issue will be the traffic ascending in the area, especially on Monday, April 8. Visitors and residents should anticipate long travel times and congestion, particularly on Interstate 75.

“We are encouraging local organizations to consider ways to reduce traffic on Monday afternoon. Most county departments are closing or dismissing early that day. Most county departments will be closed that day, other than offices that deal with public safety,” said Joel Smith, emergency management director of Miami County.

Ohio Highway Patrol Sgt. Ryan Purpura suggested carrying a paper map in case cell phone coverage becomes sketchy.

Troopers will be highly visible and ready to assist motorists, he said.

“We want to discourage people from making an impromptu stop on the side of the road,” he said.

Stopping on the side of the road or exit ramp is strictly prohibited and is a citable offense, Purpura said.

“That can be dangerous, and we want to make sure everyone has a safe chance to view the event,” he said. “Make good choices and find a safe place to view the eclipse.”

He advised visitors to have a viewing spot planned before they leave the house.

“We’re doing our part, and we want the public to do their part,” Purpura said.

Have a plan in place, have patience with traffic on the roadways and prepare your vehicle, he urged.

Be sure to activate emergency alert features on your mobile devices in the event of severe weather, Miller said.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is restricting roadwork in construction zones in the days leading up to the eclipse and is not establishing any new work zones until the eclipse is over, said ODOT Public Information Officer Rhonda Pees.

ODOT workers will start patrolling highways on Friday to monitor traffic, and they have the ability to change traffic signal patterns if they see traffic backing up, she said.

Portable message signs will be placed along highways to keep travelers informed of traffic incidents, driving conditions and other safety messages.

The worst traffic congestion is expected to happen after the eclipse is over and everyone is heading home.

If the lanes of Interstate 75 come to a standstill, there are no plans to open up the opposite lanes as done with hurricane evacuations, Pees said.


Travelers can find traffic alerts and live traffic cameras at and the OHGO app.

Go to for updates on potential cloud cover on April 8.

Motorists can dial #677 to report unsafe drivers or stranded motorists.