VERIFY: Can weather conditions cause traffic light delays?

Today's verify arises from a Bridge City community Facebook group that sparked a conversation about how weather conditions can interfere with traffic light sequences.

BRIDGE CITY - Red lights can be a pain for drivers and sometimes it may feel like you have been there forever.

Today we're going to verify whether the weather impacts the camera "radar."

Some drivers in Bridge City say often when you're right at the line nothing happens.

Today's verify arises from  a Bridge City community Facebook group that sparked a conversation about how  weather conditions can interfere with traffic light sequences.

  • Several drivers claimed "a lot of times depending on where the sun is hitting the sensor it won't rotate."
  • Another driver said they were told by TxDOT both the fog and the sun light will cause inconsistency with the camera system used for the traffic lights."
  • One person even stated they once experienced a 14 minute delay.

Some drivers say when it's foggy outside, or when the rising sun directly hits a traffic light, that wait times at those lights can be abnormally long.

The intersection in question is at Round bunch and Texas Avenue which is also known as FM1442  and Highway 87.

For the second Verify in a row we spoke to Sarah Dupre who is the public information officer for the Beaumont District of the Texas Department of Transportation as well as a few Bridge City residents who travel that stretch of road every day.

Several of the drivers we spoke to who travel north bound on FM1442 at Texas Avenue have experienced red light delays during their morning commute.

Here's  what we heard from drivers...

"I do sit here from time to time and it does hold up but you know sometimes I think that's god's way of saying slow down and take a breath."

"I don't know it seems like 10 minutes or so."

"Yes it's a total nuisance sometimes it'll cycle for five times before you get to go across."

There are other drivers who say the light rarely knocks them off their routine...

"Usually the most time I wait is about between 35 and 45 seconds"

Drivers also had suggestions and theories for why the light tends to stall out.

"It's all electronic and electronics aren't perfect."

"I think it had something to do with the sensors, sometimes when it's foggy it has that problem in the morning time."

We observed the intersection for a total of three hours on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Only once did the light skip a rotation while we were timing each sequence around 11 a.m. Wednesday morning.

TxDOT confirmed to 12News that earlier that same morning, they received a complaint from a driver and they sent a team to the intersection where they found one the light's sensor needed to be cleaned.

According to TxDOT...

  • Fog, direct sunlight and even rain can affect the sensors connected to the traffic light
  • If so the sensor will not notify the light that a driver is waiting to turn.
  • Usually, if the sensor has been affected by one of these elements, it will cause the traffic light to run a regular cycle which could result in a green light even when there is no driver waiting.
  • Another issue could be that the sensors need to be cleaned. This could also result in a light skipping a turn.

So, according to TxDOT, it is verified, that indeed weather conditions can affect a traffic light's sensor and the legnth of time you may be waiting at a traffic light.

If you notice a traffic light is not working properly you can call 409-892-7311 to report it.

If you want 12News to verify a story or information use the VERIFY box below, email us at Verify@12NewsNow.com or message us via social media.

VERIFY: Sources

SOURCE: Sara Dupre, TxDot Beaumont District, Public Information Officer

VERIFY: Resources

REPORT IT: Call TXDOT at 409-892-7311 to report a malfunctioning traffic signal.
READ: TXDot brochure on traffic signals

Help VERIFY

Help our journalists VERIFY the news. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story? Did we miss anything in our reporting? Is there another story you'd like us to VERIFY? Click here.

 

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