Clover Taxonomy II

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by Eric Peters EricPetersAutos.com

Recently by Eric Peters: Know Your Cop      

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.

For example:

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.

The won’t-pass ‘em Clover

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.

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Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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