Truck Driving and the Great American Eclipse

The Great American Eclipse has come and gone. At the time this post was written, the event was still a few days in the future and America’s truckers were trying to figure out how they were going to deal with it. Everything just can’t stop for a few hours while the sun and moon do their dance in the sky. Yet what has been classified as a once-in-a-lifetime event for many is bound to disrupt the normal flow of life.

If you are a truck driver, how did you fare on the date of the eclipse? Some of you undoubtedly made sure you were in a good parking spot so you could view the eclipse as it happened. Others kept right on driving with the understanding that time is money. And, of course, many of the states with areas in the direct path of the total eclipse issued restrictions on trucks to help with traffic congestion.

Warning Drivers Ahead of Time

If truck drivers did not have enough to worry about with their everyday routines, various federal and state agencies began warning them in the weeks leading up to the eclipse about the dangers of looking directly at the sun as it happened. Drivers were warned to get their special eclipse glasses; they were warned not to wear those glasses while driving; they were warned not to pick a random spot to pull over so they could see the eclipse at its fullest.

The thing is, it is almost impossible to not look at the sun during an eclipse if you happen to be outside as it occurs. It is just human tendency to be drawn to it. Imagine being a flatbed truck driver tying down a load with straps and tarps as the moon creeps ever closer to the sun. You are trying not to look; you’re trying to focus on the cargo control task at hand, but your eyes keep moving upward. Hopefully you’re wearing those special glasses.

With all the warnings, we can only assume that most truck drivers stayed safe by heeding them. Undoubtedly though, some did not. There are those who viewed the eclipse without proper visual protection, suffering damage to the eyes that will prove to be either short- or long-term. That’s the way it goes.

Disrupting Freight Traffic

Mytee Products, an Ohio company specializing in cargo control supplies for flatbed trucking, says that the disruption in freight traffic caused by the eclipse was a greater concern for trucking companies. Those companies trusted drivers to watch out for their own health, but they were at the mercy of regulators who saw fit to implement restrictions intended to keep traffic moving.

As an example, numerous states including Colorado, Nebraska, and Idaho placed restrictions on oversized loads for several days before and after the eclipse event. The restrictions were seen as a way to reduce congestion by keeping the oversized loads off the roads at a time when tourist traffic was expected to be unusually high.

We will know in the coming weeks and months whether trucking restrictions actually accomplished anything. In the meantime, it would be interesting to know how many loads were actually prevented from being moved because of those restrictions. Any money lost to the temporary restrictions should definitely be counted against any positive economic impact generated by eclipse tourism.

So, how did your trucking company fare during the Great American Eclipse? If not so well, take comfort in the knowledge that another total eclipse of the sun will not occur again in North America for quite some time.

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