WSIL -- With so much talk about the upcoming total solar eclipse, Rend Lake Tourism leader Rick Linton wants locals to know what to expect.
"If we have hundreds of thousands of people in this area, a lot of things are going to happen," said Linton.
No one knows for sure how just many people will actually be in the area, but Linton says if visitor estimates are accurate it's important to make sure your vehicles are filled up to avoid shortages and long lines.
"Fill up your car at least a few days before that weekend," said Linton.
He also urges drivers to avoid Interstate 57 and other state highways.
"There's been two or three times a week that our highway is shut down out there with an accident. With this many people and this kind of increase in traffic, I think we could see a lot of accidents," he said.
Linton says it may be a good idea to have extra cash on hand in case ATMs are offline.
You may need to stock up basic grocery items like food and water and if you plan to drive, make sure you have plenty of water in your car. And don't forget about the kids. During the eclipse you want to make sure the children are supervised and anyone who may be frightened.
Internet service could also be interrupted or very slow, so Linton says have a back up communication plan for family members and work associates.
"If the cell towers are overloaded, they may not be able to use their cell phones and they may want to be looking at other ways to try to communicate," said Linton.
Linton recommends residents take care of all of these things before August 18.
Other things to keep in mind are make sure elderly family members have what they need prior to the eclipse weekend, stock up on your medications, be aware that pets may become agitated or frightened, and limit your driving as much as possible from Friday, August 18 through Tuesday, August 22.
And make sure you have proper eye wear to view the eclipse.
Below is the full list of eclipse preparations from the Rend Lake Tourism Bureau:
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