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Here’s an excellent package of advice for locals about how to deal with the eclipse on April 8. It’s from the Emergency Management folks in Plainfield, Vermont, between Montpelier and St. Johnsbury, which will see totality.

If they haven’t reached their destination (if they had one) by the time the eclipse starts, they could pull over on the road and leap out of their cars… perhaps even leaving their car in traffic. It could be a bit nuts, especially when the eclipse ends and they all get back into their cars and try to head home at the exact same moment.

80,000 to 200,000 predicted out-of-state visitors means maybe 40,000 to 100,000 extra cars. All of them will want to hit the highway at the same time. So parts of Route 2 and Interstates 89 and 91 could become parking lots.

SUGGESTIONS for Vermonters:

1. Don’t attempt to drive on state highways on April 8th. Stay home or walk. Call in sick if you can. And especially stay off the state highways and the Interstate.

2. Stock up ahead on anything you might need (medications, food, pet supplies) before that day, because everywhere will be jammed, and some items will be massively sold out.

3. Stay off your cell phone, and try to use landlines whenever possible. Visitors will not only be making calls, checking GPS, taking photos and videos for upload, and checking the news from their phones, but they will be totally unaware that our cell networks can’t handle the traffic.

4. Try to stay polite to people who… in many cases… will have caused their own difficulties.

5. Be prepared for knocks on your door (especially if you live on Route 2) asking for water, help, or access to your bathroom, as well as people wandering into your field, parking lot or big front yard, if you have one. Most of them will be looking at the sky and not where their feet are walking.

6. Be as helpful as possible. Multitudes of people from Hartford CN, Boston MA, Providence RI and everywhere in-between will be in Vermont for possibly the first time. They don’t know about our roads, our marginal cell phone service, our absence of public toilets and the scarcity of police to help them.

7. Call 911 (from a landline) when you see someone in dire trouble. They will probably be panicking because their phone won’t work, but a person having a heart attack needs immediate attention and transport to a hospital. Make that call.

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