Iowa motorists need to be extra careful during winter storms because of the possibility that energy-efficient traffic lights could be obscured by snow, traffic engineers say. Iowa cities have discovered a windfall in savings on electric bills by installing new traffic signals that use light-emitting diodes, better known as LEDs, state and city officials said. But a drawback is the environmentally friendly bulbs don't melt snow on traffic lights like old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. "It's absolutely an issue" because of the possibility that red lights on LED traffic signals can't be seen by motorists, said Tom Welch, traffic engineer for the Iowa Department of Transportation in Ames. He urges Iowans driving in adverse winter weather to approach each intersection as though it has a conventional stop sign in place. "We can't design for every potential weather scenario out there. So there has to be some shared responsibility" by motorists, Welch added. Safety concerns have been raised nationally about LED traffic lights. A woman was killed in Oswego, Ill., in April when her vehicle was struck by a pickup truck driver who didn't realize a red stoplight was covered by snow. Lisa Richter, 34, died and four other people were injured in the crash as she was making a left-hand turn in an intersection that used LED traffic signals, authorities said. Snow on stoplights' LED bulbs sparks safety worries | desmoinesregister.com | The Des Moines Register So much for good intentions. There is no short cut in R&D. One of the true concepts Federalism has abandoned is trying new approaches, starting small, refining before mass distribution. Centralized Thinking fails in many ways in what it fails to recognize. Reality just slapped us in the face again.