Recently I read an article in the Scranton Times-Tribune concerning LED traffic lights. The Federal Energy Policy of 2005 banned the use of incandescent lights in favor of LED's.
- Traffic lights in North East Pa have been converted to LED over the past seven years. Almost immediately it was apparent that in bright sunshine the lights are difficult and sometimes impossible to discern the color. Sun light reflecting off the lights makes them all appear to be lite.
At least one traffic fatality in Illinois has been directly related to LED use. A 34 year old driver was making a left turn at an intersection during a snow storm. The driver coming towards that intersection did not realize they had a red light. It was obscured by snow. The other driver plowed into the vehicle driven by Lisa Richter and killed her.
- LED lights do not emit the heat required to melt snow. During snow and ice storms the lights become impossible to see as snow collects on them.
The Department of Transportation states that when a motorist encounters a non-functioning traffic signal, the motorist is required to treat it as a stop sign.
- Theory is wonderful. In a blowing snow it is sometimes difficult to determine whether you are at an intersection that has a traffic light. If you are unfamiliar with the area you may not be able to tell. If the signals are covered with snow at night how do you know they are there?
Motorists should be educated to understand the limitations of the LED traffic signals. When driving in adverse weather it is better to err on the side of caution.
That brings up the issue that the cautious motorist stops at the intersection, only to be rear ended by the next motorist who is unaware a danger exists.
- Personally, I'd rather conserve energy in my home than risk death by traffic light on the roads. Having been a professional driver and Safety Director, I can tell you that eliminating all possible hazards from the roadway, is imperative to ensuring the safety of the general public.
Those of us with young drivers in the household should take the time to warn and inform them. Those of us who have senior drivers in our family should do likewise.
I'm sure the majority of the motoring public has no idea that both sunshine and adverse weather, is a factor in the visibility of traffic signals.