The Road Rage Defuser (Or How To Avoid Being A Clover)

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Road rage is a function of Cloverism – inept, oblivious and passive-aggressive “driving.”

Do your part to keep creeping Cloverism in check by avoiding these common examples of Clover-ish conduct behind the wheel: 

* Left lane hogging –

Driver’s ed courses used to hammer home the point that the left lane was  for faster-moving traffic – and passing. If you weren’t passing another vehicle or travelling at least as fast as the cars behind you – you were taught to yield and move over to the right as soon as you safely could.

Unfortunately, many drivers – the Clovers out there – no longer yield to faster-moving traffic. Clovers believe it is their right to stay in the left lane indefinitely, no matter how many cars are stacked up behind them – so long as they are “doing the speed limit.”

But failing to yield and let faster-moving cars get by is not unlike putting an aerosol can in the microwave. An explosion is imminent. Tensions rise; other drivers get more and more frustrated. Some tailgate; others try to pass on the right, which isn’t ideal but may be the only way to get around the Clover.  This serves no one’s interests – including the Clover. While the Clover may be in the right, legally speaking, as far as not exceeding the posted limit is concerned – he always  forgets (being a Clover) that failure to yield and obstructing the flow of traffic are just as illegal as “speeding” – and arguably much more unsafe. 

Use your rearview mirror. If someone wants to get by you, let them do so. It’s no skin off your nose.

Moving right and yielding to faster-moving traffic is the polite – and right – thing to do.

* No cruise control passing –

Related to the problem of left lane hogging is the cruise-control pass. The typical scenario is a two-lane secondary road where a car in the left lane is attempting to pass a car in the right lane. But instead of accelerating to rapidly overtake the other car, then moving back into the right lane, the Clover inches forward at a glacial pace – his cruise control set on 60 as he tries to pass a driver doing 57.

Meanwhile, everyone else gets stuck behind this rolling roadblock.

If you want to pass, signal your intent, then move left and speed up sufficiently to get past the other car quickly – even if that means turning off the cruise control and pressing down on the gas pedal.

After executing the pass, signal and move back into the right-hand lane. 

Congratulations! You’re no longer a Clover!

* King of the Road Syndrome –

It’s extremely inconsiderate to be trundling all by yourself down a two-lane road, see a car up ahead at a side street clearly waiting to make a right-hand turn into traffic – and refuse to slide over to the left lane in order to give the other driver room to enter the road. A related phenomenon is the Clover who refuses to use his signal – making you sit there at an intersection until Regal He either turns in or passes you by.

When you see another driver trying to get onto the road, help him out and make room if you can. Move over to the left. And use your turn signal if you intend to make a turn. It’s the nice (and safe) thing to do.

* The stop-merge –

When entering a freeway using a merge lane, don’t stop and then pull out into fast-moving traffic. The whole purpose of the merge lane is to give vehicles entering a highway an opportunity to speed up to match the flow of traffic, then safely merge with it. If you stop or slow to a crawl, then pull into traffic that’s going 20, 30 even 40 miles-per-hour faster, you are asking to be rear-ended. Not only do you create a dangerous situation for yourself, you force other drivers behind you to attempt the same high-speed merge from a standing start.

This is a signature Cloverism. Avoid doing it! 

* Blinded by the light –

Some Clovers like to see where they’re going – even if no one else can see a thing. They won’t turn off their brights for oncoming traffic – temporarily blinding those other drivers. For a moment or two, they can’t tell where they’re going – not a good thing at 45 mph on a winding two-lane with narrow shoulders. So, be considerate – and safe: Turn the brights off when other vehicles are approaching, or when you are bearing down on a car up ahead.

* Captain Tailgate –

When you walk down the street, you don’t walk an inch behind other pedestrians; even Clovers on foot usually leave enough room to avoid trampling the guy ahead. The same applies to driving. Following too closely means you probably won’t have enough time and space to avoid slamming into the car ahead’s rear end in the event he brakes suddenly. And if that happens, it’ll be your fault, too – ticket-wise and higher insurance-wise. Rightly so. Clovers deserve to pay through the nose. 

Beyond the safety issue, it is also highly aggressive to “ride someone’s bumper.” And leaving aside basic decency, even if you’re Mike Tyson, there’s always the chance the guy in the other car will be bigger, badder, or just plain meaner than you are.

You never know what you might be messing with.

Throw it in the Woods?


  1. Regarding the stop merge, one thing that has infuriated me in SW PA (particularly Pittsburgh) they literally have stop signs at the end of the merge lane onto the interstate.

  2. One Clover behavior is missing here. When making a left turn, Clover fails to move to center of the intersection, so other traffic can pass while he waits for a chance to turn. Instead, he sits at the light, or edge of the intersection, blocking traffic until he finally turns, which is usually when the oncoming lane is clear way into the next county. These inconsiderate idiots should be dragged from their car and beaten senseless – which given their level of sense, will not take long!

    • I use turn signals at 2am when ‘nobody’ is around. Why? Because that’s when cops are looking for any excuse to pull someone over to have some beyond-the-stop fun. All I need is for some shut off car in a parking lot turn out to be a cop sitting there in the dark with everything off looking for an excuse to pull someone over.

  3. Hey Eric.

    This article should be tattooed to the insides of every Clover’s eyelids. Unfortunately, cops don’t seem very interested in enforcing laws against Driving While Oblivious, probably because they routinely get thrown out.

    Actually, I got here after reading your great piece at LRC. “Slave Training” is quite the most exquisite title for what I have witnessed over the 52 years I have been of age politically-speaking. When the Twilight Zone was canceled, I knew it was cutting too close to the Fascist bone to be allowed. I have rarely watched TV since.

    This means I was lucky enough to get through public school before the feds took over completely. I also discovered the concept of conditioning at an early age, and have been a brutal skeptic ever since. Hell, I had to stand by while everybody fell for the Gulf of Tonkin “Incident”. I knew it could only go downhill from there. It’s been Bread and Circus ever since, so the mob has been perfectly preened for its rightful role as a Slave to the State.

    I really enjoy your insightful commentary on the automotive world. Few guys who grew up in the fifties and sixties were not car enthusiasts. My first car was a ’56 Chevy Bel Air hardtop. My second a ’64 Comet Caliente, and third, an MG. So I really got a kick out of your classics section.

    So it is with much regret that I have taken a decision to never drive again if at all possible. Avoiding Clovers is a strong reason for this, but the greatest is dealing with the control the state exerts on persons who obtain a driver’s license.The Poster Child for the American Dream of ultimate freedom is now under the boot heel of the Almighty State.

    Best Regards,
    Philip K

    • To a Clover, you are an advocate of “dangerous” driving!

      I, too, was lucky enough to be born – and thus, through the system – before things got really bad. Like you, I grew up around cars that were not yet four-wheeled cribs festooned with every conceivable “safety” device, so we learned how to drive instead of learning to depend on the car to drive for us. Among the stuff I’ve had at one time or another:

      * ’64 Corvair Monza coupe (4-speed car)
      * ’69 VW Fastback (fuel-injected!)
      * ’73 VW Super Beetle
      * ’76 Trans-Am (two of them; I still have the Carousel Red one)
      * ’77, 78 Camaro; ’80 Z28
      * ’86 Camaro RS
      * ’89 Lincoln Mark VII LSC


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