Washingtonians were reminded last week that there are a lot of ways to slide around in the snow.

Some are fun. Others are not.

While youngsters eagerly tested their sleds on area slopes yesterday, insurance and law enforcement officials were coming up for air after the avalanche of wrecks that accompanied Friday evening's snowstorm.

In Fairfax County alone, the final tally of accidents reached nearly 200 between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday. Most of the crackups were minor, but they reinforced a longstanding conviction among local law enforcement officers: Washington area residents are poor drivers in the snow.

"The snow here falls so sporadically, it was totally debilitating. Everybody sort of gave up," said Lt. George Joca of the Fairfax police. "Some people overreact to the weather, and some people don't react at all. The people that do drive properly get trapped in the middle."

Similar comments were heard yesterday from local insurance companies, where calls from irate or distraught motorists, victims and victimizers alike kept phones ringing in claims departments.

For those on sleds, crashes were less expensive and part of the fun.

Washington's season for sledding and sliding may be short-lived, with temperatures expected to reach the low 40s today and 50 tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.