is a Clover? Probably, you already know – having
met him (or her) many times already. Or rather, been delayed, impeded
or imperiled by one. Clovers are the pebble in our shoes, the bur
in our saddles… the zit that just won’t pop, no matter
how hard you squeeze it. They constitute a recurrent petty aggravation
which manifests almost every time we venture out for a drive.
Clover who butts into traffic, then drives at a snail’s
This is the
Clover who abruptly pulls in front of you from a sidestreet or parking
lot – as if he’s in a big hurry – and
then shows he’s not. He darts in at the last possible
second, forcing you to stomp your brakes to avoid hitting him –
and then proceeds (typically) at a speed just below the already
under-posted speed limit. This Clover is clearly not in a hurry
– and thus, might have waited to merge until after
you passed – but (being a Clover) he is driven by a sulfurous,
demonic urge to get ahead of you – in order to block you in.
This Clover cannot simply be a person with a weak sense of spatial
relationships; that might account for the poorly timed and executed
merge. But it cannot explain away the deliberate slow-down maneuver
that follows. This jerk knows he’s holding up the
of a cop Clover:
your turn to merge from a sidestreet. As you wait for an
opening to do so, you find yourself waiting out a car that’s
coming toward you from your left. He’s not signaling, so you
assume he’s intending to proceed past you. But just before
he gets to where you are, he starts to turn – without having
signaled – thus very effectively preventing you from using
the moment to merge. Meantime, the hole in traffic has closed up
again – and now you’re stuck waiting for the next
opportunity to merge.
will not be scotched by the next no-signal Clover.
related to the no-signal Clover and also the most infamous of all
Clovers – the left lane hogging Clover (see Taxonomy
I for more about this Clover).
sees you up ahead, waiting to make a right-hand turn from a sidestreet
onto the road he’s, on but won’t move over to the left
lane to give you room to do it. He stays planted in the right lane
– even though the left lane is empty – even
though he could easily slide over. Because even this small measure
of common courtesy is too much for Clover to extend to fellow motorists.
The road is his – and you can wait. This
Clover adds minutes to your commute every day – and so, takes
away days from your life when the total sum of a lifetime’s
Clovering is calculated.
won’t-pass ‘em Clover
the guy who won’t pass a bicyclist unless two-thirds of the
opposing lane of traffic is clear – so he can straddle the
double yellow and then inch by the cyclist at a Cloveritic
(super slow) speed. This species of Clover has incited much misplaced
rage at bicyclists – who are (usually) not the problem. Most
traffic lanes are sufficiently wide enough to allow a car to safely
– and quickly – pass a cyclist, without danger to either
(and without the car needing to cross the double yellow into the
opposing lane of traffic). But one of the characteristics of a Clover
is incompetence – which manifests as excessive timidity. A
Clover will therefore often refuse to pass – for miles,
sometimes - or he will pass frantically, in a herky-jerky way, crowding
the bike off the road – or crowding any car coming the opposite
direction. Most of the time in such a situation, Clover will simply
stay put – refusing to pass a cyclist struggling to maintain
15 MPH on a 45 MPH road.
With a dozen
understandably angry non-Clovers stacked up behind him.
the rest of the article
[send him mail] is an
automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2013 Eric Peters
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