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Here’s some sobering news: LED traffic lights save money on the city’s power bill but in the winter they may cost your life.
LED (light-emitting diode) traffic lights run cooler than the traditional high-pressure sodium lights commonly used in traffic lights up until a few years ago.
What’s happening now is that ice and snow are forming much more easily on the traffic signals than years ago, when the heat from the old lights would melt away the snow and ice.
This makes it hard for drivers to see what color the light is… red, yellow, green, protected left-turn arrow?
Driving in winter weather is dangerous enough, but the problem with LED traffic lights has already caused at least one fatal accident in Illinois.
While cities, counties, and states still love LED traffic lights for their cost savings overall, the issue with ice and snow sticking to traffic signals is requiring maintenance crews to clean the lights during winter storms.
You guessed it….That costs money, too!
Some ideas being considered are:
- Using weather shields
- Heating the traffic signals
- Putting water-repellent on the lights
Until a solution to the problem has been devised, make sure you use extra caution when approaching traffic signals during the winter.
I'm a weather geek from Florida who's been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years! I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about the weather. I especially like sharing interesting details about weather events and conditions that can affect you… and how to prepare for Mother Nature's ever-changing weather patterns.