Someone else's headlights are too bright? If they are behind you, switch to the night mirror. Almost all cars have a switch on the mirror that deflects it up or down. Some newer cars even have an automatic dimmer. You can also change lanes. If the car is oncoming, look down and to the right. I was taught that in driver's education years ago before halogen lights even existed. It worked then, and it still works now.
Someone's SUV is blocking your view? Change lanes. Or slow down and allow more room between cars.
Now the latest complaint is that someone else's DVD screen is distracting them? Come on. Is that the fault of the driver with the DVD player, or is the other driver not paying attention to the road?
I truly believe that, given the choice, every complainer would love to be driving an SUV with halogen headlights and a DVD player. But since they cannot, or choose not to, they complain about them.
And for some reason, you choose to give them a forum. Let's get back to what your column used to be about: dealing with real issues concerning commuting.
If I followed the advice in your last paragraph, your letter wouldn't be published. Movie screens in automobiles, and their impact on other drivers, seem a subject of fair comment.
DVDs Good for Passengers?
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Regardless of whether DVD screens in vehicles are distracting to other drivers, are they really good for our children? I was shocked that you, on a road trip to Yellowstone, chose to have your 3-year-old's memories of the national park consist of his or her favorite cartoons [Dr. Gridlock, March 10].
Pointing out the bison, the moose, the snow on the ground in the middle of summer, the mountains, etc., would have been a lot more productive.
The gift shops there have books for all levels, including picture books and coloring books.
Couldn't someone have read some simple materials about what you were passing by?
Instead of drugging our children with Ritalin and pacifying them with cartoons, shouldn't we be stimulating them?
That's fair, except the Ritalin remark was a little over the edge. The child was actually 2 1/2 years old and not mine. He thought every animal was a bear. I'm not sure how much a child that age can retain, but I suspect he enjoyed "Thomas the Train" on the DVD as much as the scenery. At least his parents seemed pleased. So was I.
Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.
Dr. Gridlock appears Sunday in the Metro section and Thursday in Extra. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, town, county and day and evening phone numbers.