AAA Issues Warnings as April 8 Solar Eclipse Approaches

johnson space center eclipse viewing
AAA Issues Warnings Ahead of April 8 EclipseHouston Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images - Getty Images
  • AAA predicts busy travel weekend ahead of the April 8 eclipse, with hotel and rental car bookings already impacted.

  • Saturday, April 6, is expected to be a busy travel day for eclipse watchers, as they make their way to several cities to view the eclipse on Monday, April 8.

  • AAA has listed several recommendations for those traveling by car to view the eclipse.

Solar eclipses used to be pretty laid-back events. You'd have one whole science class period in middle school about planetary motion and eclipses a week prior. You'd go outside during lunchtime and don some cool shades that your school bought up beforehand. The sky would go gray for a few minutes, and everything would get a few degrees cooler for a while. And that was it.


The eclipse coming up on Monday, April 8, is bound to be different, in that travel is already forecast to be disruptive enough for one region to have declared a state of emergency ahead of time. And a fairly populated part of the country, as well as some of the largest cities in the US and Canada, will be in or close to the path of totality.

AAA has noted that several major cities in the US have seen a rise in hotel bookings nearly a month ahead of the eclipse, and hotels in a number of major cities have already started cashing in on the mania.

"AAA booking data show hotels in the most popular cities along the path of totality are 48% more expensive during the eclipse weekend than they were that same time last year," the association revealed back in March.

The association notes that Saturday, April 6, is expected to be a busy day for travel as eclipse-watchers, with rental car giant Hertz reporting a 3000% increase over 2023 in advance bookings for cities that will be in the path of the eclipse. (And suddenly lots of people who didn't care about planets are going to be eclipse experts on social media).

AAA says the cities that are the most popular for these newfound eclipse fans include Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas. The Niagara Falls region, being close to Buffalo, will be another hotspot for eclipse watchers.

So yes, it's probably going to be difficult to get a table at the Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls on April 8.

Expecting people to do crazy things when the eclipse will be observable in parts of the US and Canada, AAA has issued a list of warnings of what not to do during the eclipse.

2024 total solar eclipse
A total eclipse will be visible from points close to a number of large cities in the midwest and the northeast. Anadolu - Getty Images

Aside from certainly wearing special eclipse glasses if you're going to look at the sun, high on that list is a warning to refrain from trying to photograph the eclipse while driving. That shouldn't have to be said, but you just know it will happen anyway when people forget about the eclipse and then it catches them in traffic.

AAA also reminds eclipse watchers not to wear the eclipse glasses while driving—another solid tip some people will probably ignore.

The association says it's a bad idea to suddenly pull over on the side of the interstate or road to view the eclipse. It's better to plan ahead and set up in a safe place beforehand, instead of kicking up a cloud of dust and causing semitrucks to slam on the brakes.

AAA also warns drivers to be mindful of pedestrians who might be viewing the eclipse and not watching the traffic. (Pedestrians could also be looking at their phones, like every other day of the year).

It will also be a good idea to keep your vehicle's headlights on during the eclipse, as traffic in cities in the path of totality could be a bit chaotic, AAA notes.

Ideally, if you'll be driving some distance to view the eclipse, pick out a spot beforehand and arrive ahead of time.

"Many travelers will make a long weekend out of the event. Saturday, April 6 is expected to be a busy travel day," AAA notes.

For the exact time of the eclipse in your area, visit Time and Date and view the interactive map.

As for us, we'll rest easy in the knowledge that even in medieval times eclipses were considered super nice omens and were definitely not associated with any societal turmoil or anything remotely bad.

Would you consider traveling out of state for a solar eclipse, or is this just too much? Let us know in the comments.