What exactly 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.
* The Clover who butts into traffic, then drives at a snail’s pace -
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 line.
And delights in it.
Here’s a video of a cop Clover:
* The no-signal Clover -
Now it’s 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.
Which hopefully will not be scotched by the next no-signal Clover.
* The won’t-move-over Clover -
This one’s 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).
He’s 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.
He’s 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.
* Obey The Law Clover -
Even though Clovers often disobey “the law” when it suits them (examples include flouting “the law” about failing to yield to faster-moving traffic) they absolutely insist that others obey “the law” . . . the laws they approve of, that is. They are so insistent, in fact, that they will often attempt to enforce “the law” (the ones they like) themselves. As when they speed up to prevent you from passing them. Even if it means they must “speed” to do so. But again, Clover can be very subjective when it comes to obeying “the law.” Clovers will also honk their horns vituperatively – and flash their high beams – if you do succeed in passing them. Of course, it never seems to occur to Clover that frantic honking of horns and flashing of high beams constitutes more of a hazard than your passing maneuver. Nor that it is often against the law to obnoxiously honk horns and flash high beams at other drivers.
* The stop-on-hills-in-snow Clover -
Clovers don’t know their own limits – and expect you to work around theirs. They will venture out in a blizzard, even though they are terrified of driving in snow and have no clue how to do it. Or worse, think they do – but don’t – as is made plain by their obvious incomprehension of the concept of maintaining momentum. You’ll be making your way up a hill – and up ahead, a Clover. Who is riding his brakes. If his tail begins to slide a little, he brakes more. Sometimes, he will simply stop in the middle of the road. He won’t pull off the road first, though.
* The multi-task incapable Clover -
The system of traffic laws in the US is based on Clover – on his incapacity. If Clover can’t make a right turn without a green light to make it “safe” for him to proceed, then no one else may proceed until the light goes green. If Clover can’t deal with a faster than Model T Ford pace, no one else may drive faster than a Model T’s pace. Now we have the manufactured “safety issue” of people who talk on their cell phones or text while driving. Manufactured, because it’s an issue only for Clovers.
Just as their are people whose driving is faultless even though they’ve consumed a beer or two during the prior hour, so there are people who can maintain control of their vehicles – and their situational awareness – while having a phone conversation, even while texting. Yet Clovers have decreed that because some people (Clovers) can’t handle it, no one will be allowed to do it. And those who do are to be punished for doing it – even if they haven’t done anything in terms of their actual driving. Even if, to put a finer point on it, their actual driving is faultless.
Soon, everything will be forbidden. Cars will be driven by computers – and the computers will be controlled by Clovers.
But even then, Clover will probably not be satisfied.
To view Clovers in action, visit our video gallery at www.clovercam.com – where you will also find additional educational material on the nature of Clover, his characteristics and habits. Send us your videos of Clovers, too!
Throw it in the Woods?