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Too Cool for the USA

Too Cool for the USA

The extreme cold that parts of the United States endure every winter has exposed a problem with LED lights. They operate perfectly well at very low temperatures, but the lack of heat they generate means that if the conditions are right they can become encrusted with snow and ice and become difficult to see. This is not usually a problem for headlights because the air movement helps keep them clear, but tail lights and occasionally traffic lights can be obscured.


It’s not a common issue because the weather has to combine wet snow, high winds and sub-zero temperatures. Even so, some accidents have been blamed on the phenomenon and occasionally crews have had to manually clear the traffic signals.

Suggested solutions

Some suggested solutions are non-stick sprays and lenses and visors that keep the snow off. One solution that is never seriously considered is going back to wasteful conventional lighting. They certainly generated more heat than light, but this is the only case where that could be occasionally useful.

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