Dear Dr. Gridlock:

We want to donate a car to charity. I recall one of your columns dealt with problems associated with doing this. What precautions should we take? Was one charity better than others?

Anne Collins


I've donated vehicles to all sorts of charities and school auto body courses. I don't have a favorite.

The major problems occur when the donor leaves the license plates on the vehicle and/or does not sign the title over to the charity. The charity sometimes consigns the donated vehicle to an auction, and the buyer can leave the vehicle registered in the donor's name, which can result in the donor being liable for unpaid parking tickets -- or worse.

Readers have suggested donating the vehicle to a local fire and rescue squad, where it will probably be destroyed in training. That prevents any possibility of your getting stuck with unpaid tickets.

Regardless, remember to turn in your license plates and sign the title over to the recipient. And get a receipt.

The Wrong Signal

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

How would you suggest a driver alert other drivers that their turn signal appears to be on without their knowledge?

Peter Berg


I probably wouldn't. Pulling abreast of the driver and in some way motioning toward the rear of the vehicle might cause both of you to lose focus on the road ahead.

Most of us can realize that the other driver has forgotten to turn off the blinker. We can react accordingly.

If anyone knows of a way to communicate a stuck signal, let me know.

Signs a Mystery

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

This summer, I've noticed a significant number of new traffic signs posted along the sides of the Beltway in Montgomery County. Problem is, these signs are covered by black tarps.

Do you know what these signs say and when they will be uncovered? I'm concerned that there is going to be significant detour activity along this busy stretch of interstate highway.

Lodge Gillespie

Silver Spring

The signs warn of a resurfacing project on the Montgomery part of the Beltway. The signs are unmasked as the work shifts to a new segment.

Resurfacing work is being done at night and midday. The work is scheduled to be finished this fall. Until then, I would avoid the Beltway in Montgomery County, if possible.

A Little Courtesy, Please

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I live on the Eastern Shore in the small town of Denton. This is the first speed trap off Route 50 for those people heading for the Delaware and North Ocean City beaches.

I moved here 20 years ago from Burtonsville in Montgomery County and still commute to the District.

I used to think that it was only a few inconsiderate drivers giving the rest of the beachgoers a bad name, but now I must say the inconsiderate drivers are quickly becoming the majority!

There seems to be a mentality that us "locals" are a real inconvenience to you "beach nuts." You Western Shore drivers would run down your own mothers to get to the beach one car ahead of the next guy.

Every spring, the highway department changes the timing of the traffic lights for your convenience.

The least you can do is be courteous while you are speeding through our counties, putting our lives in danger.

Dean Danielson

Denton, Caroline County, Md.

We'd all do well to remember to obey speed limits in towns and on open roads.

Geared for Town

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I must share my amazing discovery -- "Drive 3" on my transmission column. It is the "set it and forget it" gear for in-town driving. You can't speed without that gear complaining.

Law enforcement should remind every citizen they stop of this under-utilized gear.

Cathy Perreault


Online Discussion

Dr. Gridlock will resume his biweekly Web discussion on local transportation matters tomorrow from 1 to 2 p.m. Log on to

Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

You can write to Dr. Gridlock at 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers e-mails at or faxes at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county and day and evening telephone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.