When out driving whilst in snowy weather, most drivers have a constant awareness for those all-important flashing lights. They are capable of deriving by the size, positioning, and color of the lights approximately what is happening and what is expected from them as drivers. Flashing red white and blue lights low to the ground indicate police cars, while red and white up high are more likely to be an ambulance. Spinning Yellow and white can be associated with larger maintenance trucks and those warning vehicles that accompany oversized cargo loads. However, motorists in Ohio, North Dakota and Kent County, Michigan have a new color to add to their road-guide register. Snow plows and other road maintenance vehicles have started implementing green LED lights to increase visibility and create a unique new indicator that will help drivers respond correctly on the icy roads.
Why Green LEDs?
Green is not a color that most people typically expect to see on the road, which is part of what makes it effective. During daytime snow flurries, in which visibility is low but the sun is still quite bright, many drivers have a hard time making out white or yellow lights and snow plows are often subject to bumps and scrapes as cars try to follow closely. The Ohio DoT sites studies that suggest green lights are more easily detected by the human eye than other colors, and there’s no doubt you can’t mistake it for snow glare. As excellent proof of their working theory, Kent County found that in the previous two years, their snow plows with green lights have seen none of the usual rear-ending accidents that normally occur.
Flashing or Steady Illumination
In the constant search for the safest method, several state departments of transportation continue to test the difference in safetybetween flashing green LEDs and steady a steady burn. The debate lies in the drivers ability to accurately identify the location and speed of an approaching snowplow and act accordingly. Most people expect to see flashing warning lights, and the variable signal catches your attention even in low visibility. While a steady burn gives drivers a consistent point of reference for snow plow location, a lack of flashing can cause confusion. The PNS Association suggests that if you have to choose only one, to go with steady burning however ideally it is more efficient to combine the two methods.
Benefits of LEDs for Snow Vehicles
Whilst we’ve covered why the color green was chosen, why not just adopt normal green lightbulbs? The answer lies in the low heat and high efficiency of the LED light design. Unlike normal filament bulbs, LEDs take much less energy to burn, creating a bright and reliable source of light without eating up battery power while out on the road. LEDs also have a much longer lifespan, increasing the time trucks can go without light replacements, bringing down costs, and reducing the chances of a dangerous outage in the middle of snow plowing service. Finally, LEDs are not hot enough to melt snow, meaning they can be used safely at both upper and ground level without creating the risk of a road slick for placing so many bright lights near the surface.
From North Dakota to Ohio, snow plows are gearing up with green LED warning lights, creating an unforgettable warning system. Mounted on the top, back, and sides, they will flash or burn steadily to alert drivers to their presence, shining clearly through low visibility areas and decreasing the number of unnecessary bumps and scrapes. With the kind of results they’re already getting, it’s no wonder that more counties and states continue to adopt this awesome new warning system.
For more information on the environmental aspect and effects from the use of green LED lights or anything more, please contactSustainable Certification Pty Ltd