Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
1:00 AM 6th April 2024

Solar Eclipse Warning To UK Drivers

Brits hoping to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse on Monday 8th April have been warned not to be distracted by the spectacle while on the road.

Photo by Mark Tegethoff on Unsplash
Photo by Mark Tegethoff on Unsplash
Parts of the UK will be able to witness a partial solar eclipse - when the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up - including cities in the North West of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.

It’ll begin at around 7:52pm in the UK - just before sunset.

However, motorists are being urged not to take their eyes off the road when driving on Monday, however much they might want to gawp at the celestial display.

Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, states:
“If you’re lucky enough to be in a region of the UK where a partial eclipse will be visible, and you want to take-in the spectacle, make sure you’re not doing so from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

“There are a myriad of ways a driver might become dangerously distracted during this rare event.

“It should go without saying that staring directly at the sun is to be avoided at all costs, and the risk of being temporarily blinded while on the road is all too obvious.

“If you’ve bought special darkened ‘Eclipse Glasses’ for the occasion to protect your eyes, don’t be tempted to wear them while you’re driving as your vision will be compromised to the point that you’re putting other road users at risk.

“Be prepared for sudden changes in light conditions and have your headlights switched on. It’s also wise to watch out for other distracted drivers - and pedestrians - who might be focused on the skies and not the traffic around them.

“And if you plan to park your car somewhere and observe the eclipse from the side of the road, make sure you’ve left the vehicle in a safe spot that isn’t causing an obstruction.”

The company also points out that taking photos while behind the wheel of a car is also a major no-no.

Anyone caught using their phone, for example, to snap pics while driving faces a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence. The fine could even run to £1,000 if the case is taken to court.

Below, Mr Conway offers further pieces of crucial advice for navigating the roads during a rare event such as a partial solar eclipse:

Stay informed

Keep up to date with local traffic reports to stay informed of road conditions and potential congestion caused by increased traffic as a result of the eclipse.

Use proper eye protection

Don’t look directly at the eclipse, especially when driving. If you have driven to a safe area to witness the event, wear appropriate eye protection to reduce the risk of eye damage as this will affect your ability to drive safely.

Carry out appropriate vehicle checks

If you must drive during the event, make sure your vehicle is in good condition, particularly that the headlights, taillights, and brakes are working properly.

Reduce speed

If visibility is reduced as a result of changing light conditions from the eclipse, make sure you drive at a safe speed.

Increase following distance

Leave additional space between your vehicle and the one in front of you to allow extra reaction time for sudden changes in traffic conditions.

For more information on the solar eclipse click here