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, Harris said.

Good luck. Let me know how this turns out.

Wipers With Lights

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 educate people by running a reminder at the end of your Howard Extra column: "Wipers On = Lights On! It's the Law!"

Dave Dammen


I like the idea.

Telecommuting Center

Dear Dr. Gridlock

Southern Maryland commuters can learn the benefits of telecommuting; find out 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., 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.

Signs Set Straight

In February, Metro's electronic signs began showing when the next three trains would arrive at a station. In adding that feature, 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, 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.

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.

Good Care, and Luck

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I also 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 frequency of oil changes is a ploy by auto manufacturers to get consumers to cough up more cash.

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.

'Art on Call'

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I was told that someone recently wrote to you about the 1,500 surviving emergency call boxes that are scattered across the city. The writer suggested that they are unsightly and should be removed.

Perhaps you have already heard that community groups and city agencies are working to spiff up the boxes. Depending on neighborhood tastes and preferences, art and local history are being added to our sidewalks.

"Art on Call" is a project of the D.C. Heritage Tourism Coalition, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District and the Mayor's Office.

In the Dupont Circle area, there are 22 boxes that will be renovated with local artists' views of the circle fountain and information about local history. The unveiling of the Dupont Circle call boxes is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Mount Pleasant has already completed work on its boxes, and community groups across the city are at work on theirs.

The D.C. Heritage Tourism Coalition can be reached at 202-661-7581 or

Gerald Allan Schwinn


Thanks for the links and the update on the beautification efforts.

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.