Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Like most of us who live here, I have witnessed some horrendous driving behavior in my time. But recently I have seen driving that goes above and beyond rudeness and recklessness.

My 31/2-year-old son is disabled and uses a wheelchair. Every morning and afternoon, an Arlington County school bus with a wheelchair lift picks him up on the corner near our house to take him to preschool. Using the wheelchair lift takes my son a little longer to get on the bus.

I have seen numerous drivers whip around the bus despite its flashing red lights and wheelchair decal!

Has the level of rudeness and self-centeredness of drivers in this area reached the point that they can't even wait for a disabled child to get on a school bus?

The police have responded only with the standard "If we didn't see it, we can't do anything about it" line. I would like your advice as to what I can do or whom I can contact in Arlington to do something about this.

Leland J. White


That is an intolerable situation. The extent of any remedy depends on how much you are willing to press your case with Arlington authorities.

Start with calling Matt Martin, public information officer for the Arlington County police, at 703-228-4311. Tell him Dr. Gridlock sent you and ask him if police can help.

Then contact Diana Sun, public information officer for the Arlington County government, at Ask her how to make an appearance before the Arlington County Board. Also ask for the e-mail address of the board members, and send them a copy of this letter. Then appear before them. If possible, bring your son.

If you do those things, I suspect a solution will emerge. Let me know how things turn out. Good luck!

I-95's HOV Schedule

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Would you kindly inform me which days and hours the HOV lanes along Interstate 95 are open to the north and to the south?

Roger Mudd


The barrier-divided Interstate 395/95 HOV-3 lanes are open to everybody, including non-carpoolers, as follows:


From 1 to 3:30 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

From 1 to 3:30 p.m. Fridays, and from 6 p.m. Fridays until 2 p.m. Saturdays.


From 9 to 11 a.m. and from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

From 9 to 11 a.m. Fridays.

From 4 p.m. Saturdays to 6 a.m. Mondays.

HOV-3 hours are 6 to 9 a.m. northbound and 3:30 to 6 p.m. southbound, Mondays through Fridays.

No Butts About It

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Another pet peeve is smokers who toss lit cigarettes out automobile windows. This is personal, because I have experienced a lit cigarette coming into my car and burning my seat. It is a dangerous practice and could cause harm to others.

Rosalie Goosby

Dale City

What a disgusting habit.

Parents Should Teach

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

We recently moved to Virginia and are interested in recommendations for a commercial driving school. How much should it cost for classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction?

Jeff and Joanna Carra


I suggest that parents take charge of basic driver training. Take trips during spring break and in the summer. Ride with your children until you feel they are ready to drive solo.

Put them in all sorts of basic and challenging driving situations: changing lanes, merging, interstate driving, nighttime travel, the Capital Beltway, stopping for an animal, snow, ice, rain, passing on a two-lane road, running off a road and getting back on, city driving, recognizing red traffic lights and parallel parking.

Simply reaching a 16th birthday is not a good reason to get a license. I suggest that completing 1,000 miles of local driving and 1,000 miles of interstate driving is a better barometer.

Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Thursday in The Extra and Sunday in the Metro section. You can write to Dr. Gridlock at 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county and day and evening telephone numbers.