Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Who is responsible for removing dead deer from the public roads? This spring a number of deer have been killed along Route 123, and they are just left to rot. Surely this is a health hazard.

One morning I called about one that was still alive but struggling, and it was dead and in the same place on my trip home.

As I write this, there is a deer rotting on the southbound side of Route 123 between the Fairfax County Parkway and Lorton, and another on the exit from the Fairfax County Parkway to West Ox Road.

Renee Brown


The Virginia Department of Transportation is in charge of removing dead animals from the roadways. To report one, call 703-383-VDOT.

We should drive cautiously at night along roads flanked by forests. Deer can run into our path without warning.

A Lesson From Paris

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I recently had the good fortune to spend a week in Paris and used its Metro frequently. Its solution to seating near the doors seemed quite intelligent.

There were eight hinged seats near the doors that were used when the car was not crowded. Then, when a large group entered, the people on those hinged seats stood up, making room for other passengers.

When it became less crowded, they sat back down. It worked well and provided flexibility within the cars.

Cathy D. Knepper


Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said Metro considered the Paris model but decided not to use it. Seems like it might have been useful here.

Eating on Metro

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Metro's overreaction regarding its policy about food made headlines last year when a customer was arrested for finishing her snack as she entered a Metro station.

Imagine my surprise at the situation I encountered when I took the Red Line from Glenmont to Union Station on a recent Monday. Sitting on the train was a teenager sipping a big can of fruit juice. Across from him stood a Metro employee in uniform, watching. That continued for several stations, until the employee left the train.

The policy is enforced in some cases, but not in others.

Sonja Dieterich


In such a case, get the employee's name and report the incident to Metro at 202-637-1328. Metro should launch an inquiry and caution employees to warn offending passengers.

Car Care 101

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

A car's life span depends on how the vehicle is used or abused. The oil will keep the engine clean, but frequent short trips will overload the oil's detergents with water, acids and other byproducts of combustion.

A poorly tuned engine might dilute the oil with unburned fuel. On longer drives, the oil gets hot enough to evaporate some of that.

Hard engine use when the oil is cold will cause increased wear. The interval between oil changes should be adjusted to the vehicle's usage, and generally when the oil looks really dirty, it's time for a change.

Manufacturers' recommendations are based on worst-case driving.

Bill Seabrook


Thanks for the tips.

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-mail, 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.