Traffic safety engineers, transportation specialists, and auto manufacturers have made remarkable advances in automobile and highway safety over the past fifty years. Road planners and municipalities are poised to make another quantum leap in highway safety as they adopt new LED highway lighting or retrofit existing highway lighting with LED technology. A brief overview of LED lighting reveals at least four reasons why LED lights are making highways safer.
LED lights can be configured to produce unparalleled beam uniformity with reduced glare.
Uniform light beams across an entire highway surface provide motorists with the clearest picture of highway conditions with no dark spots or dimly-lit areas. LED luminaires can be configured in a range of narrow to broad (i.e. types I through V) beam distributions to create uniform road surface appearances that are easy for drivers to navigate and that eliminate any need for a driver’s eyes to continually readjust to varying bright and dark lighting. LED systems can also focus lighting more directly on highways, reducing light pollution that can have adverse effects on neighborhoods near highways and on animals whose nocturnal patterns might be disturbed by highway lights. Traditional metal halide or high-pressure sodium fixtures do not have the multiple optic options, such as dimpled optic lenses, lens diffusers and custom color controls that are available with LED fixtures. These options reduce lighting glare that distracts drivers and that might temporarily blind them to road and traffic hazards.
LED lights have superior durability.
Highway lighting fixtures are exposed to weather, traffic, and environmental extremes that can cause premature lighting breakdowns and degraded illumination over time. Next-generation LED luminaires can withstand these extremes to give consistent performance over a longer period of time with little or no interruption. Because LED fixtures are more durable, they provide uninterrupted operation with fewer maintenance problems. Modular LED highway lighting systems are also more easily repaired with shorter downtimes than traditional highway lighting.
LED lights generate full illumination more quickly.
LED highway lighting systems come to full illumination almost immediately after they are powered up. This can be crucial at dusk and during bad daytime weather when natural light is limited and highway lights need to be turned on manually to adjust for reduced natural light. LED lighting systems can also be programmed to react to limited daylight illumination conditions. Overall, drivers will have properly lit highways throughout the day with LED highway lighting.
LED lights are economical.
Municipalities and road systems that have limited operating budgets might be tempted to reduce highway lighting as a cost-savings measure. LED highway lighting systems consume less than half of the power that traditional outdoor lighting uses to generate the same or even a better level of highway illumination. Because of the durability of LED lighting systems, municipalities will also realize substantial savings in their maintenance budgets. Those cost savings can be used to improve other areas of highway safety.
U.S. cities and municipalities in areas as diverse as Baytown, Texas, and Olympia, Washington are already testing and realizing the safety and other benefits of LED highway lighting. As those benefits become more apparent, the LED industry expects that the pace of adoption and retrofitting of LED lights will increase.
SpecGrade LED is a premier domestic manufacturer and supplier of LED highway lighting. Please see our website or contact us at 888-534-7657 to speak with one of our consultants and to get answers to your LED highway lighting questions. We are located in Columbus, Ohio, and have agents and representatives throughout North America that can further explain how a SpecGrade LED lighting system can make highways safer.