Henry Laszkiewicz of Takoma Park begins his report with, "It happened again this morning."
"It" was a car stalled, hood up, "right in the middle of a traffic lane" on University Boulevard during the morning rush hour. Another car, also with its hood up and facing the stalled car, was trying to give it a jump start.
For the moment, at least, the transfusion wasn't working and traffic was backing up as far as the eye could see. Henry wondered why in the name of common sense no effort had been made to move the stalled car to the curb or, better yet, push it off onto a side-street that was only a few feet away.
"I come from Pennsylvania," Henry wrote, "where the first rule is: get the disabled car out of the line of traffic." Sometimes one or two men can push a vehicle aside; sometimes a motorist can be persuaded to nudge it along with his bumper.
I am inclined to endorse Henry's views, but would add a word of caution. The nature of the traffic flow at the point of the snafu would have to dictate how much pushing and nudging and lane changing could be undertaken in relative safety.
One who senses that his car is conking out ought to head for the shoulder of the road at once, and not wait for the engine to die completely. But if the driver of this swooning vehicle finds that he cannot change lanes safely in the few seconds that his car retains forward momentum, he faces a difficult problem and must react to it with split-second judgment.
Once an auto dies in a busy traffic lane, moving it out of the stream of traffic becomes a calculated risk - and sometimes a miscalculated risk.