Kevin Costner danced with wolves. It is my fate – and yours – to drive with Clovers. They are everywhere – and increasingly unavoidable. Like a virulent bacillus, ineptitude and passive aggressive behavior behind the wheel spreads across the land. It’s possible to escape Clovers – temporarily – by moving far, far away from their hives in urban suburban areas. But inevitably, they follow you – and before you can blink, you find yourself surrounded and immersed . . . by “drivers” such as these:
* The 50 yard gap Clover –
Maintaining a safe following distance is good policy . . . when you’re actually moving. But when you’re barely crawling, leaving 50 yards of clearance between your car and the car ahead of you annoys (and needlessly delays) everyone behind you, especially when they’re trying to get to the turn lane Clover is probably blocking. Clover will inch forward at a pace perfectly timed to cause you to miss the signal and waste 5 minutes of your life waiting for the next cycle. This is the high point of Clover’s day, at least, before he gets to his cubicle at the DMV – where he can spend the remainder of the day torturing drivers in other ways.
Have you ever been driving along, cruise control set at 70, and had a Clover accelerate to catch up, then match your speed exactly – whether you speed up or slow down? Remora-like, Clover sticks right with you, either side-by-side or right on your tail. He won’t pass. He won’t take the hint. I’ve had Clovers of this type match my speed up to 90 MPH before finally breaking off. It may be Clover’s herd instinct – his desire to follow rather than lead – that accounts for this bizarre behavior. Whatever the underlying pathology, it’s as hard to break Clover of the habit as it is to get a Mississippi leg hound to stop once he gets going.
Best just to let him finish.
* Fast car, slow Clover –
Some say bodybuilding is pointless; big muscles, just for show. How about the Clover who buys a 300-plus horsepower car, then drives it within the performance envelope of an ’83 Aries K car? Creeps away from a just-turned green light not much faster than a bicycle rider can build speed?
Enters a curve posted 35 MPH and slows to 28? Resolutely refuses to either pass the car to his right – or fall back and move over to the right – so you can pass? The market is saturated with high-powered cars being driven very slowly.
Because Clovers are all about show – and have very little interest in go.
* The glacial epoch deceleration Clover –
This is the guy who is as much afraid of his brake pedal as he is of his accelerator pedal. He only applies both with extreme caution – and very gradually. For example: Approaching a red light, he will use the car’s momentum to slow down. This may save him gas – but it wastes everyone else’s time. The cars behind Clover take as long as Clover to finally reach the light – and if any of them intended to turn off, slow-motion Clover will have assured they’ve missed the signal.
Meanwhile, he glides off – oblivious.
* Overcautious Clover –
We all know this Clover . . . unfortunately. He’s the guy who drops his speed to 37 in a 55 zone at the first sight of a snowflake. Not snow.
Now, it is reasonable to adjust speed for conditions. But Clover adjusts (reduces) his speed for perceived conditions. For example, work zones – where there’s no one working. Clover will crawl through such zones, not because his eyes tell him there are men working, but because a sign says men are working – even when men are clearly not working, or even there at all.
This same subspecies of Clover also cannot – apparently – negotiate an actual work zone (with men actually working) unless a “pilot car” guides him through. Have you seen these? In place of a flag man at each end of a work zone, waving traffic past, there is now a “pilot car” (usually, a truck) that the entire conga line of cars must follow, tip-toeing at a Cloveritic crawl through the work zone. Even if said “zone” is nothing more challenging than two lanes merging into one for a brief stretch. You can thank Clovers for this. They can’t deal with the Apollo 13-esque task of following a flagman’s instructions. It is too much to ask of them. And so, as good money drives out bad, those of us who can deal are no longer allowed to. Courtesy of Clover.
We get to wait behind him, instead.
Throw it in the Woods?
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