"Snow Stops Traffic Cold" [front page, Jan. 19] did not do justice to the traffic congestion caused by a minuscule amount of snow. My commute from downtown Washington to Georgetown, normally 15 minutes, took 2 1/2 hours.

The problems were compounded by two factors: (1) selfish drivers who blocked intersections to advance their own progress incrementally at the expense of others, and (2) the absence of any police at key intersections. The D.C. police could have greatly abetted the flow of traffic. Where were they?

JOAN KENNAN

Washington

I don't understand why residents and commuters weren't angrier about the traffic jams caused by less than a half-inch of snow. I lost three hours that I would have been able to spend peacefully at home. And many hours were lost on the job the next day because schools opened late and roads weren't salted.

Montgomery County highway services chief John W. Thompson claims that he was caught off guard. But everyone in my Rockville office knew to expect snow.

While I look forward to a day off from work, I would rather have it when I want it and not be forced to take the time by officials who are inattentive and unprepared.

ANNE FRESIA

Washington

On Tuesday, I spent an hour and a half driving a normally seven-minute route from Crystal City to Smithsonian, then another hour and a half getting to Springfield.

Snow falls every year, yet D.C.-area residents seem to be caught by surprise each time. Several things could be done in such situations to help things run more smoothly.

* All available police officers should be deployed to crowded intersections to direct traffic and prevent gridlock.

* When the Orange, Yellow and Blue lines are crowded and running 30 minutes late, Metro should run buses 30 minutes later and put more trains on the tracks.

* With snowy conditions and commutes tripled to two, three and five hours, HOV lanes should be opened to get traffic moving and alleviate the dangerous situation of people being stranded in 20-degree weather with no cars or buses to pick them up.

INGRID MOHN

Vienna