As you read this it may be 70 degrees or it may be 17. Balmy sunshine or 12 inches of snow. Who knows? Certainly not the weather forecasters. Certainly not the people paid to figure it out and warn the rest of us. Pity the poor driver, forced to deal with a woefully inadequate road system and schizophrenic weather that can dump a paralyzing amount of unforeseen snow on the area.

Those who went to work Wednesday morning, assured that there would be only a couple of inches of snow "tapering off to flurries" (even though it was snowing heavily at the time), struggled home a few hours later to a revised forecast of 10 to 16 inches of snow. This kind of wildly inaccurate and late forecasting -- the "whoops" school of forecasting -- means agony for commuters. Another five-hour commute home. People abandoning their cars and trudging through drifts. This scene is getting to be too familiar, too cruel. Had government workers not been on holiday, drivers might still be out there. How much more can motorists take? Next week we'll look at what, other than more precise weather forecasting, might be done to ease the plight of the motorist. Meanwhile, on to what now seem more mundane concerns: Hooked on a Horn

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

One of the most annoying things on city streets is the habit of a driver blowing his horn at the car in front of him as the light turns green.

I had a once-in-a-lifetime-experience concerning that habit. I came to a red light and as the light turned green the guy behind me blew his horn instantaneously. Two blocks later I came to another red light, stopped and put my hand out and beckoned the driver behind me to come alongside. There was a young man driving and a young lady passenger looking puzzled. As they pulled alongside I leaned out and said, "Do you know what is the very shortest elapsed time? It's between the time the green light goes on and the driver behind you blows his horn."

He had the grace to laugh and bet he didn't do it again -- at least for three or four days. I felt fine!

ELLEN F. BLOOM Washington

It is good that you both felt good after that encounter. Most people wouldn't. You're right, it's a real teeth-clencher to get a toot within a millisecond after a light changes. We're not drag racers. Taxi drivers are notorious for this kind of impertinent impatience. There are laws regulating horn honkers, but of course, like so many traffic laws, they aren't enforced.

In Virginia and Maryland, a driver may honk only when it seems necessary to pass another vehicle safely or "when there is immediate danger, such as when a child is about to run into the street or another car is about to hit you," according to state authorities. Horn honking to get people moving at stop lights is not a legal use of the horn, and such horn honkers can be fined between $20 and $30. In the District, the laws are less specific. Anyone, at any time, can be fined $25 for "unneccesarily noisy or loud" honking, but because D.C. police seem to have enough trouble just helping traffic to move, it is unlikely anybody is going to get ticketed for honking.

So, what with the unforseen snow, the awful roads, the congestion, the misery on the roads these days, how about everyone trying something to help, like doing one thing each day that helps another motorist, something you wouldn't do. Like letting a person change lanes in front of you, or being more patient before honking. If enough people do this, life on the roads might be more bearable. 'No Parking' Sign Means It Dear Gridlock:

About the "Emergency No Parking" signs sprouting up around town. So far I have seen them being used by Pepco, a tree trimming company, a tour bus operator trying to reserve parking near the National Cathedral and a cab company which was trying to reserve spaces for spare cabs near its office. Most of the time I don't have any idea where they come form or who puts them up.

Today on 38th Street near the Cathedral somebody came by early in the morning and put up a whole block worth -- by 10 a.m. there were D.C. police tickets on the cars for failing to obey the mystery signs. What is going on here? A call to the D.C. police department elicits the usual grunts and I-don't-knows.

If the signs are sometimes put up by the police then the others are being put up by people impersonating the police. Is D.C. too cheap to print up their own or is their a private deal to deputize Pepco and the Gray Line when ever they run short of parking?

D. MILLER Arlington

This is a good question, one that has been asked more than once. These cardboard signs, which look homemade but say "Metropolitan Police Department," are real, and D.C. government officials say they don't know of abuses.

The D.C. Department of Public Works posts the "Emergency No Parking" signs for special events, such as parades, demonstrations and large construction work. Other such signs can be posted by a city resident who has obtained them from their appropriate police district headquarters. Police will issue such signs to cover one or two parking spots in front of a residence in order to accommodate a move or construction work, for example. There is no fee for the signs, and residents are supposed to post them 72 hours in advance. If you see something that looks like an abuse of the intent of these signs, police say you should tell the appropriate police district. Let Dr. Gridlock know what happens.Putting It to Intersection Blockers

Recently, reader Michael Triebsch of Arlington complained in this column about being issued a parking ticket while commuting to work. Turned out he was issued a parking ticket by Arlington police because it was faster for them to ticket intersection blockers this way. Triebsch acknowledged that he was blocking an intersection, but said he had no choice. Dr. Gridlock wondered whatever happened to policemen at intersections to direct traffic. Here's what one reader has to say:

Michael A. Triebsch completely misses the point in his letter appearing in your column on 16 October. Furthermore, you were wrong in implying that we should look beyond his bad manners and poor judgment for a solution to the "blocking the intersection" problem. Mr. Triebsch's attitude, unfortunately, typifies a large body of our local drivers whose arrogance and disregard of their fellow man extends even to violation of the law. Mr. Triebsch is merely nitpicking when he quibbles over the type of ticket he received while ignoring the rude, unprincipled, and illegal action that got it for him.

I vote for clearing our intersections of the Triebsches and their ilk any way we can, including bulldozing them out of the way, if necessary. I agree with {Arlington police spokesman} Tom Bell that computerized traffic signals at the intersections have made police at intersections largely unnecessary -- except to man the bulldozers which appear to be needed. Indeed, it has been my observation that uniformed traffic directors just as frequently further foul up the intersection problems they are trying to alleviate.

What we need is for the area's Triebsches to look around and find that there are other drivers out there, too. Most of them ask only that we show a little respect and consideration for our fellow man and that we obey the laws that we indicated we knew when we passed the examination for our driver's licenses in the first place.FRANK W. AULT Arlington More About Back-In Parking Dear Gridlock:

D.C. Department of Public Works spokeswoman Tara Hamilton said back-in parking is needed because it is safer to pull out front first. I believe it's more expedient as well as safer to back out first in high-demand areas such as Georgetown. As soon as the back-up lights come on, someone will be waiting for that spot and will hold up traffic for you to vacate. Just try it and see.

PAT BLAKE Great Falls

The D.C. Department of Public Works is sticking by its original assertion that back-in, angled parking is safer. As Tara Hamilton explains it, it is easier and safer for drivers whose cars are backed into the parking space to exit because they can see the traffic that is flowing their way better than drivers who must look behind and over when their cars are parked front-end first.

Whichever way you park, someone has to wait for you. So the consideration should be for the clear vision of the driver attempting to drive out of the parking space, Hamilton said.

Still, she added, that every area is not right for back-in, angled parking. "We try to designate the most appropriate form of parking depending for the area," she said.

The area in question here is K Street under the Whitehurst Freeway. Considering the number of letters we've had regarding back-in parking and the placement of signs that explain this, the D.C. Department of Public Works might want to take another look.

Dr. Gridlock appears in this section each Friday to explore what makes it difficult to get around on roads, from misleading signs to parking problems to chronic bottlenecks. We'll try to find out why bad situations exist and what is being done about them. You can suggest topics by writing to GRIDLOCK, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Please include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers.