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Jalopnik said:
New-fangled LED traffic lights last longer, pierce the darkness more effectively and consume 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. That's also their drawback. They're not hot enough to melt snow that sticks to their lenses, causing dozens of accidents.

LED's are, by design, more thermally efficient than incandescent bulbs, meaning more of the electricity is turned into light and less into heat. Incandescent bulbs are generally considered to "waste" electricity as a result of this thermal inefficiency, but in the case of traffic lights in northern climes there's a happy benefit, the "waste" heat melts snow so, you know, people can see the lights.

Police departments across the northern United States are noticing an uptick in accidents related to snow-packed LED traffic signals. Whereas incandescent bulbs melt the snow, the LED units cannot and the snow blocks all the light. The problem happens during heavy, wet snows with high cross winds, and can persist as long as the temperature hasn't raised to naturally melt the snow (or road crews clean the lights by hand).

Why motorists are dumb enough to take this as an indication to just barrel through an intersection into an accident is beyond us. We'd think they'd be smart enough to simply treat the situation the same as a power outage, approaching the intersection as a four-way stop. Although there's no solution to the problem, although it seems a gentle heating element attached to a nifty sensor would do the job — but such a device would certainly cut into the energy savings benefit from LED signals (sorry Greenies, better luck next time!). Another option? Motorists practicing defensive driving. Yeah, like that'll happen.
Green Goes Bad: LED Traffic Lights Can't Melt Snow, Cause Accidents - Traffic Signals - Jalopnik
 

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truth versions only
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BS, you are taught in drivers ed that if a semaphore has failed it becomes a 4 way stop.
The problem is you may be able to see your light on as green, but the guy coming cannot tell cos his is covered. He comes to a stop, thinks you will too and since he got there first, he takes off. You don't even try to stop and t-bone him.

The author oversimplified the situation with accidents. What I think is just cos snow has covered the lights facing east and North does not mean the West and South lights will be covered. Even if they were, does not mean the winds won't help remove the snow from at least one direction. Either way, the guy who has a working light will probably obey it, and the rest will use the stop and go method, mayhem ensues.
 

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When I approach and ready to depart a 4 way stop I always make sure its very clear the cars coming from other directions are showing intent to stop. I have had some one run a stop sign right in front of me before. If some one coming shows no intent to stop, stay still and wait for them to pass.
 

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True but what happens when there is a curve on the 4 way cross street with trees in the middle and snow falling, you are already going through when another moron on his cell phone comes around the curve, sees green lights and plows through
 

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Technical Poseur
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True but what happens when there is a curve on the 4 way cross street with trees in the middle and snow falling, you are already going through when another moron on his cell phone comes around the curve, sees green lights and plows through
What happens when a meteor falls from the sky just grazing the light partially knocking the snow off but the water in the lake isnt frozen so geese fly past the intersection and....yeah yeah. Point is IF your side of the semaphore is obstructed you need to watch and wait for cross traffic. Once they have shown clear intent to stop then you may proceed.
 

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BS, you are taught in drivers ed that if a semaphore has failed it becomes a 4 way stop.
I hear ya, but name one person that's not reading this thread that would actually do that and if you know any they'd be counted on one hand. 99% of the US don't know how to freaking drive.
 

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Deus Vult
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99% of the US don't know how to freaking drive.
This.

I've seen, and almost been hit, by ignorant r-tards running through 4-way stops even though the lights on all sides were blinking red. Hell, I've almost been hit by people at intersections where the lights were working. Sometimes I feel it's safer just to sit at home.
 
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