LED traffic signals are inexpensive to operate. And they do well in warm weather. But when there is a snowfall and low temperatures the lack of heat causes snow to adhere to the lamps and obscure them. This signal was found on southbound Wellington Road in London, Ontario and it caused four vehicles to pass through it, fortunately without causing a collision.
This is a warning to the public of the dangers that exist with LED traffic signals which become covered by snow due to their lack of heat production. While LED signals are cheap to operate they pose a danger in winter conditions when they become covered in snow and their illumination is obscured. This article shows a specific instance that occurred at approximately 1120 hours on the morning of November 17, 2020 on Wellington Road in London, Ontario. The southbound traffic signal on Wellington Road became partially obscured as shown in the photo above. This caused a series of southbound vehicles to pass through the intersection when the signal was red. This development was captured by both still photos and by video showing a Toyota Camry that was entering the intersection on a green signal when the noted vehicles also entered on a red signal.
This is a view looking southward along Wellington Road approaching the overpass of Highway 401 in London, Ontario in the late morning of November 17, 2020. The snow-covered traffic signal is located at the top on the overpass in the distant background.
This view shows the snow-covered traffic signal at the Highway 401 overpass. Vehicles exiting from Highway 401 onto Wellington Road come to a stop at a T-intersection on the right side of this view.
This view shows a Toyota Camry whose driver came to a stop at the T-intersection of the exit ramp of Highway 401 and he is about to make a left turn to travel southward on Wellington Road. Video captured what happened when four southbound vehicles, one after the other, passed through the red signal while the Toyota driver was entering the intersection on a green signal.
This is a frame from a series taken from video as the Toyota Camry driver commenced his left turn onto Wellington Road. Watch as the four vehicles pass through the intersection from the right to the left.
Here the video frame shows the Toyota driver accelerating from his stopped position onto Wellington Road.
This video frame shows how the Toyota driver suddenly applies his brakes as he has detected the vehicles passing through the red traffic signal. Fortunately he was observant enough but the situation could have been much different.
This video frame shows the Toyota continuing to move forward while braking to a stop as the driver has detected vehicles approaching through the red signal.
This video frame shows the first of four vehicles that passed through the red traffic signal. The Toyota driver appears to have released his brake as he seems to expect that the other traffic will not pass through. But that is not the case…
This video frame shows the Toyota driver has still released his brake and the Toyota is crawling forward as the driver likely does not understand why a second vehicle could pass through the same red signal.
This video frame shows a very fast moving black SUV or Minivan that is passing by the Toyota. The vehicle’s speed has blurred its image in this frame. The Toyota driver has re-applied his brakes as he now understands that these vehicles are not stopping for the red signal.
This view shows the third vehicle passing through the intersection while the traffic signal is red for its direction of travel.
This video frame shows the Toyota Camry as it completes its left turn after the last southbound vehicle has cleared the intersection.
This warning is provided while no similar warning has been provided by official entities that have installed LED signals. This happening is unlikely to be an isolated event but is likely to repeat itself over the lifetime of such signals in winter conditions.