Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Southern Maryland commuters can learn the benefits of telecommuting; get information about telecommuting services, vacancies and rates; and receive guidance on how to approach their employer about telecommuting at an open house from noon to 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Laurel Lakes Telecommuting Center, 13962 Baltimore Blvd. in Laurel.

The site is part of Southern Maryland Commuting Centers, which also has telework centers in Waldorf and Prince Frederick.

Take advantage of a free 30-day trial period by calling 800-695-6105 or visiting

Tammey Sparks-Ussery

Director, Southern Maryland Telecommuting Centers

For those of you east of Washington who are entombed in vehicles for hours a day, give this a try. It might change your life.

Photo Finish

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I enjoy your columns.

With a blurry photo as evidence, the City of Baltimore will soon give me a court date for a red light violation.

It is a fuzzy image, and it was not my car in the photo. How does one prove one's innocence?

Ward Anderson


You have to go to court, according to Officer Troy Harris of the Baltimore Police Department. Bring with you your current registration and especially your proof of automobile insurance, which should list all your vehicles, he said.

Good luck. Let me know how this turns out.

Signs' Displays Change

In February, Metro's electronic signs began showing when the next three trains would arrive at a station. Metro stopped giving the number of cars in an upcoming train, information that some customers had relied on to know where to stand on the platform to be near the doors.

After a survey, Metro reinstated posting the length of trains over the Memorial Day weekend.

The new displays indicate the color of each rail line, the number of cars operating in a train, the train's endpoint destination and the number of minutes until a train is expected to arrive, according to Lisa Farbstein, a Metro spokeswoman.

When a train is about 30 seconds away, the letters ARR will appear under the arrival section, signaling that a train is arriving at the station. When a train is at the platform, the arrival time for the train shows BRD for boarding, Farbstein said.

The signs will still display the next three trains coming into the station.

A number of readers wrote to encourage Metro to reinstate the information about the length of trains. You have been heard.

Wipers and Lights

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I continue to see about 20 percent of the drivers in autos with Maryland tags using wipers without headlights.

Because I find it helpful to be able to see other cars in the rain, perhaps you could help educate people by running a reminder like this at the end of your column:

"Wipers On = Lights On! It's the Law!"

Dave Dammen


I like the idea.

Good Care, and Luck

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I drive a car with hundreds of thousands of miles on it (250,000, to be precise), and I can attest that an oil change every 3,000 to 6,000 miles has little or nothing to do with the fact that the vehicle is still running.

Consumer Reports was dead accurate when it said this recommended oil change frequency is purely a ploy by auto manufacturers to get consumers to cough up more cash in maintenance.

I change the oil approximately every 10,000 miles depending on wear, sometimes as infrequently as every 15,000 miles.

A lot of the reason any particular car lasts as long as it does is not only good care but a healthy dose of luck.

Kyle W. Thompson


I suspect we'll hear from others on this.

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.