LEDs safe in snow despite reservations
The recent snowy conditions that have gripped the UK caused travel chaos for many, but even harsher conditions were experienced in the mid-west of the USA in areas normally protected from the worst of the weather. As a result some raised concerns as to how appropriate LED signalling technology was, claiming that the lack of heat emitted by the LED systems would not melt snow, potentially obscuring the signals from the view of motorists.
This is a legitimate concern and one which shows that the energy efficiency of LED technology is a blessing and a curse depending on the situation. However, problems caused by wintry conditions have of course been encountered and surmounted by LED signalling companies in the past and thus a solution is already in existence.
5 years ago a local council in the US funded the development of a simple device, called the Snow Scoop, which can be attached to existing LED signals, easily solving the problem. It uses a design with a funnel element which forces wind through, pushing any trapped snow out of a gap in the bottom of the signal's sun shield.
Other regions around the world have found that it is still cost effective to implement manual mechanical systems for releasing trapped snow from in front of the LED signals, since severe winter weather is a rare occurrence in many places.
LED systems are saving hundreds of thousands of pounds in power consumption around the world wherever they are installed, whether it is in signalling, signage or other LED display technology. The benefits of LED signals, which include higher visibility and consequent improvements in overall safety, are widely believed to outweigh these relatively minor problems that are encountered only occasionally and are readily dealt with.