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Snow-Covered Traffic Signal Blamed as Possible Contributing Factor in Crash with Injuries at Arlington Heights Rd and White Oak St Arlington Heights

Wed November 28 2018 10:06 pm  https://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=573680
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T-bone crash at site of snow-covered traffic signal at Arlington Heights Road and White Oak Street, Arlington Heights Wednesday afternoon.

Arlington Heights police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 1:27 PM Wednesday November 28, 2018 to a report of a crash with injuries at Arlington Heights Road and White Oak Street Arlington Heights, Il Arlington Heights, Il. Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report a person in one of the vehicles was injured.

A white Nissan Altima and a red Toyota Prius were involved in the crash. The Nissan had front-end damage and the Toyota had damage on the driver’s door side in a “T-Bone” style crash.

One patient was transported to Northwest Community Hospital.

Snow packed traffic signals, blocking the view of red, yellow and green lights are suspected of contributing to the cause of the crash.

IDOT maintains traffic signals at many of Arlington Heights intersections including Arlington Heights Road and White Oak Street.

The Village of Arlington Heights maintains Arlington Heights Road and Olive Street and some other intersections nearby, but IDOT manages Arlington Heights Road and Sigwalt Street, which was also snow-packed (shown in video).

IDOT maintains over 2,700 traffic signals in Cook County and other Chicago collar counties, and IDOT crews have been working to clear the lights.

Since most traffic signal lights have been converted to energy-efficient LED lights, there is a one drawback. Part reason behind LED efficiency is that energy is not wasted as heat. Since the lamps in the traffic signals operate at lower temperatures, they don’t melt the snow that obscures the colored lens.

Officials are recommending that motorists take extra care while passing through intersections in case an obscured light causes another motorist to miss the red signal.

Of course it would likely be a distracted driver or fatigued driver that would pass through a controlled intersection without signal illumination. Nevertheless, the chance of a motorist’s failure to recognize or be triggered into awareness because of the lack of a visible signal is a reality. In traffic lights observed by Cardinal News, it seemed like the red light was the most obscured by snow — compared to yellow and green — and some red lights were barely visible, even when looking right at the red illuminated light.

Arlington Heights Public Works crew clearing Olive Street Traffic SignalArlington Heights Public Works crew clearing Olive Street Traffic Signal at Arlington Heights Road on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at about 1:40 p.m.

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