Dear Dr. Gridlock:

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

Since 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 Howard Extra column:

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

Dave Dammen


I like the idea.

Signs' Displays Change

Back in February, Metro's electronic signs began showing when the next three trains would arrive at a station. In doing so, Metro stopped giving the length of or 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, said Lisa Farbstein, a Metro spokesman.

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 length of train information. You have been heard.

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.


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 facility 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.

2 New Metro Garages

Here's some good news for Prince George's County Metrorail users. Metro is opening two large parking garages, one on the Green Line at College Park on June 25 and one on the Orange Line at New Carrollton on Oct. 29.

The College Park garage will have six levels and 1,345 spaces. The parking structure is located over the original Kiss-and-Ride surface lot, said Steven Taubenkibel, a Metro spokesman.

The New Carrollton garage will have eight levels and 1,850 spaces. It is next to an existing garage.

"Additional parking at these stations in Prince George's County will make Metrorail more user-friendly and will allow even more individuals to take advantage of public transit," said Metro board member Charles Deegan.

That is correct. Single drivers are clamoring for more parking, particularly at facilities where parking is full by 9 a.m.

Keep building parking garages, Metro. Take vehicles off the road.

Hazard Ahead

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I was driving yesterday on the Capital Beltway in Prince George's County when I noticed a stopped truck farther ahead in my right lane, with workers doing a litter pickup in front of the truck -- but there were no cones, no signs, etc.

Luckily, there was another car in front of me that was slowing and stopping, but I was sure that I was going to be hit from behind. Luckily again, I wasn't.

Is that legal? It was very scary.

Ellen Kasnett


I ran that by Maryland State Highway Administration spokeswoman Valerie Burnett Edgar. She said the normal practice would be for a state truck to pull off the shoulder or median and put out signs reading "Litter Pickup Ahead" on the shoulder. Litter collectors would be wearing safety vests.

What you describe, Ms. Kasnett, sounds like a hazard. To report any such incidents, call the MSHA at 800-323-6742.

Stop for School Buses

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I agree with Ann Cornejo [Dr. Gridlock, June 2] that even the holiest-of-holy traffic rules -- stopping for a stopped school bus -- is in the dustbin, along with stopping at red lights, using turn signals and looking before you pull out into traffic.

I wrote to you a few weeks ago to relate an instance in which a driver in front of me blew by a school bus displaying flashing lights and the extended stop sign on Kensington Parkway in Chevy Chase.

I caught up to him at the next light and told him that he'd passed a stopped school bus. His answer -- in front of his young son -- was:

"Lady, don't tell me what to do. I pay my taxes."

I guess I missed the footnote in the Maryland code where it says that people who pay their taxes can do whatever they darned well please.

Ellen Paul

Chevy Chase

You can just hope that person gets a fat ticket one day. If you had had a cell phone with you, you might have dialed #77 to report the incident.

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.