It's a Team's Life
Look at those lights
This is something often not thought about, LED lights and winter driving. I believe LED lights are one of the best improvements to come to the trucking industry in a long time. They last longer, they are brighter and draw less power than comparable incandescent lamps. This will save you money and time as the maintenance costs are less.
I would imagine that if the DOT violations concerning inoperative lamps were divided into LED vs incandescent, LED violations would be very few. One thing about LED’s is they create very little heat, this is one reason they last so long. Because they do not get warm they will not melt ice buildup like an incandescent lamp will.
Our truck has LED headlights and all marker/clearance lamps are LED. The probability of one of these lamps failing is small, however, there is a chance of a violation due to the lamp being obscured by ice or snow. If an officer cannot see the light from the lamp he could assume it does not work and write a violation or at least gives a reason for a stop.
When driving in snowy conditions, anytime the snow is moving from wind, falling snow or snow stirred up driving through it, the snow will build up in places that have a low pressure. Taillights on the trailer are one place that I have seen snow build up enough that you could not see any light thru the snow.
Driving into the snow, especially wet snow will cover the front of your vehicle, including the headlamps, enough to diminish functionality. The headlamps of trucks today are made of a tough plastic. This material is much better for deflecting rocks and other debris without shattering like a glass lamp would. There is a tradeoff though, the plastic material will become cloudy and light emission reduced after time. The good news is that the lamps can be restored fairly easily without the high cost of replacing them. There are many kits that you can do-it-yourself or some shops will do it for you at a reasonable rate.
Once the lamp is restored a too near new surface, I recommend using some type of sealer/water repellent, something like Rain-Ex, to help retain the new surface longer. The sealer will also help keep ice and snow from sticking as quickly. It won’t keep snow from sticking but it will help the snow release easier.
Every time you stop, more often while driving in snowy conditions, you should walk around the truck clearing the snow away from all lamps and the surrounding areas. Use a rag or towel and glass cleaner if needed to wipe the lamps clean. I also keep a spray de-icer that helps get the thin layers off that won’t peel or slide off easily.
Keeping yourself visible to others could save a life, maybe yours.
Till next keep your lights clear and clean.
Bob & Linda Caffee
Saint Louis MO
Expediters since January 2005
Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;
Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;
Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;
Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.