Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I was driving with my husband on Interstate 81 through a mountainous/rural part of Pennsylvania. Traffic was light; in my rearview mirror I could see only one car.

Suddenly on this gray day I spotted a family of wild turkeys slowly walking across the highway.

The car ahead of me moved to the left lane (that's what caught my attention) and was able to pass the turkeys before the first one reached the left lane.

I speeded up and switched to the left in order to try to get by the turkeys also, but unfortunately the first turkey, which just kept on walking across the road, got hit by the side of my car as we drove past.

My husband thought I should have braked hard (I was driving about 65 mph), even to the point of stopping on the interstate, in order to have avoided hitting the bird.

While I feel bad about killing the poor thing (I volunteer in animal rescue, so you can imagine how this hurt me), I think that stopping on an interstate like that could have resulted in far more damage to more than just the turkeys.

I'm curious what your recommended action would be.

Maude McGovern

Rockville

I'm with you, Ms. M. This is one of those unfortunate situations where you have to weigh the risk of injuring an animal against the risk of injuring a human. The driver behind you may not have seen the turkeys, and your suddenly slamming on the brakes at 65 mph might have caused an accident, to say nothing of your vehicle going into a skid. It's best to continue driving straight ahead, with a controlled swerve, if that would work.

I once saw a pair of geese and their goslings parading across Interstate 66 on a Saturday. We all managed to stop, but that was a dangerous move.

While Grid-daughter Carrie was learning to drive, a squirrel ran across a two-lane country road right in her path. There were no shoulders; just ditches. She struck it and was distraught. I told her she had done the right thing, that swerving to avoid the animal might have landed her in a ditch or a tree.

What do you folks think is the right thing to do in this situation?

More Food Choices

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Re fast food options while traveling:

My husband and I have been driving up and down Interstate 95 between Capitol Hill and Long Island, N.Y., on a weekly basis for 15 years. One stop we recommend is the First State Diner at 1108 College Ave. in Newark, Del., an easy on/off from I-95 at Delaware Exit 1 (the first exit north of the Delaware tollbooths).

You can enjoy a delightful meal for not much more than the price of a fast-food meal.

Karen Bock-Losee

Washington

Thanks for at least one bright spot on I-95. Those median stops on the turnpikes are as appealing as eating in a bus station.

I want to tell you about a wonderful place to eat off I-81 near Harrisonburg, in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

"Evers" is off Exit 240 at Mount Crawford. They serve a delicious buffet of home-style food for lunch and dinner. They make their own rolls and pies; peanut butter pie is a specialty.

The price for lunch is $6.83, including drink and tax, and the supper meal is $8.93, plus tip.

People come from all over to eat here.

Barbara C. Hutchens

Harrisonburg

I drive through Pennsylvania frequently, and I like to stop at the Dutch Kitchen in Frackville, off Exit 36W on I-81.

The food is good and inexpensive, and I get a chance to sit back and shake off the road.

Here's a URL: www.dutchkitchen.com/index-2.html.

Betsy Davis

Arlington

Blasphemy! How could you omit from your list the venerable and comforting Park-N-Dine restaurant in Hancock, Md.? It's right off Interstate 68 if you're eastbound or Interstate 70 if you're westbound. Easy off, easy on.

Get one of the entrees smothered in gravy; you won't be able to finish it.

See for yourself.

John Boteler

McLean

Thanks for sharing. I'm going to put these in my glove compartment. Also, check this Web site for tips on alternatives to fast food: www.roadfood.com.

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