D.C. public works takes it on the chin for not being prepared for the snow "storm" of Jan. 18 ["The Flurry That Froze D.C.," front page, Jan. 20]. But instead of blaming employees who provide long hours of service during legitimate snowfall, let's focus on the main cause of that evening's traffic nightmare: We, the drivers.

In an area where spotting Bigfoot occurs more than the sighting of a turn signal, "yielding the green" and "pumping the brakes" are foreign terms, and the overall populace reacts to the threat of precipitation as if it's mustard gas, I defy anyone to tell me that the lack of salt and plows on the road was to blame for gridlock in what amounted to a flurry.

I recommend federal funding for Driving Skills 101 to reorient Washingtonians to the simple practices of safe and effective operation of a vehicle on our highways, especially during inclement weather.

DOUG HEIMLICH

Bethesda

Many thanks to Ken Ringle for his explanation for the chaos and paralysis in Washington before and during winter weather [Style, Jan. 20]. My Midwestern in-laws love our restaurants and museums, but not nearly as much as they love our helplessness after an inch of snow.

I try to explain to them how difficult it must be for K Street attorneys to make their rush-hour phone calls when they need an extra hand on the steering wheel. And about how many of our cabdrivers hail from latitudes where snow is unheard of. And about drivers like me, who are daydreaming of being bumped or sidescraped by a sport-utility vehicle. In my dream I sue the manufacturer for millions as punishment for those ridiculous commercials suggesting that SUV owners can jump streams, plow through deep mud and snow and speed over ice without ever shifting into four-wheel drive or locking their hubs.

JIM EGENRIEDER

Arlington