Dealing With Clovers….

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Clovers – those passive-aggressive “drivers” who won’t yield to faster-moving traffic, leave their turn signals blinking, pull out in front you quicker than a rattlesnake and then slow down to 5 MPH below the speed limit, refuse to pass bicyclists or farm equipment, like to stop on highway on-ramps – you know, Clovers…. how do you deal with them?

I mean, without using a baseball bat?

Here’s my approach:

* Never alert the Clover to your non-Clover status –

Clovers see themselves as auxiliary enforcers of “the law.” This is why the Clover won’t move over. He is “doing the limit,” you see. And he intends to make sure you do the limit, too. Less than the limit, ideally.

Therefore, it is key to hide your intentions. If the Clover thinks you will try to pass him at the next opportunity, he will do everything possible to prevent you from doing so. The Clover will even speed up – and (gasp!) exceed the speed limit – just to see to it that you don’t get past him. Then, he’ll slow right back down to 53 MPH in a 55.

So, relax. Choose your moment. Then strike fast and hard. Clovers are gifted with slow reflexes as well as slow intellects. Give no indication as to your frustration. Never, ever honk your horn or flash your lights. This will only warn – and incite – the Clover. Instead, when you see daylight, punch it and leave the Clover fuming in your wake.

* Anticipate the Clover –

Profiling works. Clovers tend to drive certain types of vehicles. For example, older Buick and Oldsmobile sedans. Camrys are also known Clovermobiles. A Prius – for sure. But be aware that Clovers also sometimes “drive” late model luxury cars, even sporty cars. A certain sign of impending Cloverism on any vehicle is the presence of those stick figure family icons – most especially if they are plastered on the back of a super-sized SmooVee.

If you sense a Clover ahead, try to position yourself in such a way as to avoid the Clover’s orbit entirely. For example, if you have the option of coming to a stop between car “a” and car “b” and car “a” smells of Clover, try to slide in behind car “b.”

* Never – ever – give a Clover benefit of the doubt –

We’ve all made – and regretted – this mistake. A Clover is trying to merge, and we let him. Then we’re stuck behind him. The classic example is the Clover we let cut in ahead of us at a signaled left-turn lane (because he was too much of a Clover to anticipate the turn lane). He’s just sitting there in the main lane with his blinker on – other cars stacking up behind him – so we do the decent (but foolish) thing and let the Clover get ahead of us. Then, the light goes green – but the Clover doesn’t move. Or, he moves very, very slowly. Just slow enough, in fact, to make sure we miss the light – but he makes it.

It is especially important to show no mercy to Clovers in winter – High Clover Season. Clovers are at their absolute peak of Cloverism in poor weather.

If you see a Clover ahead of you and it’s snowing and the road is about to get hilly, you must put the hammer down and get by that Clover immediately, because it’s as certain as sunrise the Clover is going to brake – maybe even stop – and leave you both spinning your wheels.


* Live in a Reduced Clover Zone –

Clovers tend to be more of a problem in high-density areas by dint of averages and percentages. More people almost axiomatically means more Clovers – and also, less room to evade them. I used to live near Washington, DC – and Cloverism there was the rule, not the exception. You’d pass one of these asphalt arteriosclerosi and – damn! – stuck behind another one. It was like being an elephant assaulted by ants. Individually annoying – collectively, lethal.

If Clovers are making your life miserable, move away from them. It is an extreme solution but then so is the problem. The toll Cloverism takes on your health and well-being, to say nothing of the time wasted, is enormous. I’d need to Vulcan mind-meld with you to convey the pleasure of living in a Clover-free (or nearly so) environment. In a less-dense setting, not only are there fewer Clovers, the few that are around are much easier to dispense with. They have a harder time blocking you in or preventing you from getting around them. Clovers are only effective when they operate in herds.

Throw it in the Woods?



  1. “Camrys are also known Clovermobiles”

    There might be a good explaination for this. When we bought our first GPS we found that our Camry’s spedometer read 5 over reality at “highway” speeds. My Corolla is fine–just doesn’t have any “get-up-and-go”. I wonder how many other clover-mobiles have an issue with the spedometer as well as the driver.

    • In Australia the Design Regulations 1989 state that the speedo may be manufactured with an inherent inaccuracy of maximum +/- 10%. This changed in 2007 to 0/+6 km/h.

  2. Clovers DO tend to drive a very specific type of car, but you got the models wrong! The #1 Clover car is the Volvo with Lexus being a distant second. All other models are down in the single digits and statistically insignificant.

  3. Just FYI, the main breeding ground for these types is Knoxville, TN.
    They sit in the left turn lane, behind the white line at a green light and refuse to pull into the intersection to turn left. They want to wait for the arrow.

      • I call the speed policing Clovers “regulators” they remind me of people who would tattle on you .One Clover I especially dislike who is the Clover that chickens out on an icy hill, I used to take my One wheel drive Nissan pickups about anywhere till the no drivers stalled me .

  4. Poor old Clover! Still can’t grasp a principle. The number of “desths” each year isn’t the point – saaaaaaaaaafety is! The fact is, people do get killed – and skiing is certainly less safe than not skiing. And injuries! What about them? Many, many people are huuuuuuurt each year skiing. They go too faaaaaaaast and besides, skiing is inherently risky and frivolous; surely you careless, excessive-risk-taking Clovers should have to wear helmets and slooooow down – or be ticketed for your unsaaaaaaaafe ways. And there’s no denying those costs to socieeeeety – so you Clovers must be forced to carry special insurance so that the rest of us don’t get saddled with the costs you burden the system with.

    See Clover, what goes around comes around!

  5. Ah yes! Clovers are notoriously selective when it comes to “the law” and “safety.” Your example is a case in point. Another is as follows: I have pointed out to Clover I – who is a skier – that skiing is “risky” (arguably, much riskier than driving without a seatbelt) and so, according to the very same reasoning Clover deploys to argue that mandatory buckle-up and insurance laws for drivers are justifiable, certainly – clearly – skiers should be required by law to wear helmets and also to purchase high-risk/special coverage insurance. After all, he might get huuuuuuuuuurt and impose costs on socieeeeeeeeeety.

    I suspect Clover would not like to be told that he has to wear a helmet while skiing, or be ticketed by a cop for not wearing one. Or forced to buy expensive high-risk insurance coverage. But what’s good for th’ goose ought to be good for th’ gander…. right?

    • I am sure this will get deleted because facts are not allowed. There are very few skiing desths each year and thousands of people killed without seatbelts on. I guess I would take my odds on that one. You actually have more of a chance getting killed driving to the ski area. I do wear a helmet and would not ski without one and you are right that all people should wear a helmet when skiing and kids should be required to. A helmet has saved me serveral times during races from when hitting the gates that you ski around. When you race you bump the gates and when you do that you can not always predict what they will do.
      Is there anything else you care to make up?

      • But facts, in themselves do not paint an accurate picture when it comes to comparisons. A somewhat truer picture, and I’m sure Clover can give us figures we can check, is to compare the number of KSIs per (say) 100,000 miles ski’d during the course of a season with the number of road KSIs per 100,000 miles during the same period. The only correct comparison is ‘like for like’, is it not?


      • Ok Ken. I agree. Since there are few deaths skiing as you say because the total miles skied is not that high, the solution is to decrease the miles dirven without seatbelts and you will also cut those deaths by 10s of thousands.

        • Poor ol’ Clover! Logic is not his strong suit….

          There are millions of people who have been driving for decades and many hundreds of thousands of miles without wearing seat belts and not been injured in any way as a result. You can propose a theoretical risk (they’d be hurt – maybeif they had an accident, which they may never have). And that’s just as true of skiing. You may never have been hurt, but you certainly could be. Probably, you have been hurt while skiing at least once. I and many millions of other who don’t “buckle up for safety” haven’t been hurt at all. So why does your activity – your personal choice – get a pass but mine doesn’t? Is it not just as true that if you break a leg or become paralyzed as a result of a skiing accident that “society” will pay some of the costs associated with your injuries? Just the same as if I am injured in my car as a result of not “buckling up”? You might also run into someone on the slopes, crippling them for life. It happens. Why does your risky activity not qualify for an insurance mandate, but my driving a car does?

          Probably, you will say, “I am an excellent skiier and so my risk is low.” Well, I am an excellent driver and so my risk of being involved in a wreck is low, too. This is demonstrably true. I have had exactly one accident – back in 1987. That’s about a quarter-century of accident-free driving. It is an objectively reasonable decision for me to not “buckle up.”

          The fact is, you’re a selectively arrogant coercive utopian who thinks your personal way of living is the only way people should live; that if others disagree, they should be fined and controlled. But you are smart enough to make the “right” choices and your choices are always the right choices!

          Trust me, Clover, the shitfan is going to point in your direction someday. And I doubt you’ll like it very much.

        • Again Eric there will be no one that pays for my injuries. I am able to cover any costs. That being said even though I ski a lot I have a far greater chance in being in a serious auto accidetn than I do a serious skiing accident. That being said not wearing a seat belt in such an accident will cause more injuries and a greater chance of death as skiing. What happened to the link with true stats that I posted? Those always seem to get removed. I have a far greater chance in getting hit by a drunk driver than I do in being in a major skiing accident but you say it is fine to have drunks on the road.

          • Sorry Clover, that dog won’t hunt. If I said “I am able to cover any costs” associated with my not wearing a seat belt, would you agree that mandatory buckle up laws should not apply to me? (Leaving aside that I very much doubt you are a multi-millionaire and could pay out of pocket for, say, permanently crippling another skier after having accidentally plowed into him on the slopes.)

            You can’t have it both ways, Cloveroni. If the principle underlying your Cloverite advocacy of nanny-state laws is that failure to heed these laws results in costs to “society,” then the same applies to you and whatever “risky” activities you happen to be involved in. And skiing is risky. People routinely fall and get hurt – often fairly seriously. They get killed, too (just ask Sonny Bono, RIP). Your “stats” don’t change these facts. Nor the fact that many millions of people go unbuckled for decades of driving without having an accident and thus, no “cost” associated with their not buckling up.

            But none of this is the point, oh Clover.

            The point is, unless you want the law to micromanage every last little detail of your life; unless you want no liberty to assume risk (and take responsibility for any possible consequences) because of some wildly generalized, possibly (even likely) never to materialize “risk” to yourself (note: not to others) then learn to mind your own goddamn business, live your life – and leave others alone to live theirs.

          • Appears to be in NJ from the state police car.

            I am disappointed by the officer.

            He could have charge the driver with

            39:4-88 “Keep Right Pass Left”
            39:4-56 Delaying traffic prohibited
            39:4-87 Overtaken vehicle to give way
            Source: NJ Legislature website

          • Agree. The cop is aggressively tailgating. Not to defend the Clover, but the cop was being an asshole – not just because he’s tailgating, but because this same prick no doubt spends his days passing out tickets for “speeding.” Had the Clover tapped his brakes, the cop would have piled right into him. And it would have bee the cop’s fault, too.

          • That video is really sad. The clover didn’t even get a ticket for it. It’s amazing! You know why right? The cop already knows what stupid looks and acts like, more than likely wasn’t in the mood to deal with it. I don’t blame him. It’s like busy work.. Just lame and boring even though necessary.

        • That is one of the best examples of inverted logic that i have ever come across and totally evades the point I made which was for you to provide a direct and accurate comparison. I might add that I always wear a seatbelt in a car and helmet, full leathers or textiles, boots and gloves on the ‘bike, but it is my choice – I do not need some lily-livered, politically correct little bureaucrat to advise me on ‘What is good for me’- believe it or not I can actually work it out for myself. I make these points after about about one and a half million accident-injury free miles in cars and about three hundred and fifty thousand accident-injury free miles on various motorcycles – on both road and race track. Many hundreds of thousands of those miles done in a happy, but sadly bygone, age when there were no restrictions on speed or apparel.

          • People such as Clover have a problem (an incapacity) as far as using logical – let alone moral – reasoning. His idea of “risk,” for example, is highly subjective – and selective. His chosen activity – skiing – is (his opinion) not “risky” – notwithstanding that it objectively is risky in the sense that any physically intense sport involving speed involves a heightened possible risk of injury, or even death. It’s not a debatable point. But he minimizes or denies this outright – yet rejects precisely the same argument against mandatory buckle up laws and insurance (e.g., there are millions of people, including myself, who have been driving for decades without wearing a seatbelt without suffering even a scratch) because he approves of mandatory buckle-up laws and insurance – but doesn’t approve of mandatory (and ticketable) skiing helmet laws and requirements that skiers pay more for their insurance to cover their higher risk potential.

            Clover is incapable of seeing the point that once you begin regulating people’s private choices on the basis of a generalized, non-specific “risk” to themselves (or to “society,” in terms of potential costs) as opposed to limiting law enforcement to specific individual actions that harm or directly threaten to harm other specific individuals (not “society”) then you have opened up Pandora’s Box to limitless government interference in and regulation of all private conduct – at least, if you’re going to be fair and philosophically consistent. If my decision to not buckle-up for “safety” is cause for the police to harass me, on the basis of “I might get hurt” or “I might impose costs on others” then Clover’s skiing (and whatever else he does that involves any potential risk to himself or “cost to society”) is likewise fair game.

            But the prick doesn’t see it that way. He arbitrarily decrees that his activity is not “risky” (or less risky). It’s just others’ actions and activities – as he decrees – that must be policed, regulated, taxed.

            That’s why he’s a Clover.

    • Clovers also seem to have a particular hatred of bicyclists. They will argue that bicycling on the roads is dangerous (it’s actually about the same as climbing stairs and countless other everyday activities). They want bicyclists off the road.

      I’ve two different clovers attempt to hit me with their vehicles or force me off the road when I was bicycling because when they wouldn’t accelerate when the light turned green I pulled out into the left lane and passed them.

      Bicycling is actually safer than driving with regard to head injuries. But guess who the clovers have helmet laws passed on?

  6. A quick meta-question here about the term “Clover”.
    Would it be accurate, appropriate, and simple to define a “Clover” as a driver who, for whatever reason, lacks drivers’ courtesy, or anything even vaguely resembling drivers’ courtesy?

    • You nailed it, sir!

      For a complete dissection of Cloverism, peruse the posts of Clover I and Clover II as well as the previous articles devoted to the phenomenon.

      • Wrong! A Clover is someone who reflexively obeys whatever the law is, because it’s the law. Someone who won’t (or can’t) exercise judgment. Someone who thinks all laws are good laws because, well, they’re the law! The government is our friend. It is there to help us. If the government says “Drive 55” (or 65 or 70) why, that’s the right speed to drive – ipso facto! And anyone who drives faster deserves a ticket for speeeeeeeeeeeeding.

    • Strange though it may seem to a dedicated ‘Clover’, many of the driving habits adopted by the typical Clover – left lane hogging, (right or middle lane hogging in the UK, of course)holding up traffic that wants to move more quickly, failing to move into the leftmost available lane (UK), causing long tailbacks, etc, would be more than adequate reason for a UK Traffic Officer to stop them, warn them about ‘Lack of Consideration To other Road Users’, driving without ‘Due Care and Attention’, ‘Careless Driving’ and various other pertinent comments, and issue them with a piece of, well deserved, ‘Paying Paper’. Even our road legal agricultural machinery, if it has traffic behind it, is required to move into a layby as soon as possible (I think any delay must be limited to not more than two miles)in order to allow traffic to pass.


      • My benighted brother will not see it this way. Even though skiing presents as much potential risk – perhaps more actual risk on an individual basis – as driving without a seat belt, he will chuff and huff in High Clover Dudgeon at the mere suggestion that skiers should be required to carry extra insurance, or be stopped (and ticketed) at “helmet checkpoints.” Because my brother is selective in his arrogant impositions. But what he ought to understand – if he were capable of understanding – is that once his form of Cloverite busybodyness becomes the basis for law enforcement, then it’s open season on the Clovers and non-Clovers alike. Even though non-Clovers are not vengeful by nature and would never pursue such a course ordinarily, a critical mass of frustration is developing. Once the non-Clovers have finally had their fill of Cloverism, the tables will be turned. The non-Clovers will use the same “safety” and “for you own good” and “societal costs” arguments against the Clovers, to fuck up their lives and make everything they do more expensive, hassle-filled or outright illegal.

        Then, we’ll see!

  7. OMG! You’re kidding, right?! He’s doing the speed limit yet that’s not good enough for you?! I thought you initially meant people going well under the speed limit like some little old granny. I’m sure while you’re doing 80mph you’ll be a “clover” for many other drivers.

    • You’ve just certified yourself as an A-Number-One Clover!

      It is the defining attribute of a Clover to not understand – indeed, to resent – the concept of yielding to faster-moving traffic. Your speed – and the speed of the overtaking vehicle – are irrelevant. If you see a car coming up behind you that’s clearly trying to get past, you should should let him get by. This is the most basic rule of driving etiquette.

      But no, you are a Clover – the second one to come here! You have to impose the speed limit, or whatever speed you feel like driving, on other drivers.

      • Yielding to people who are blatantly speeding? The only time that is supposed to happen is for an emergency vehicle. Would you yield to an even faster speedster?

        • Yes, of course. The rule is: Always yield to overtaking traffic. Driver’s Ed 101. It used to be taught. Used to be enforced, too. As an “FYI” – this is religiously taught in Germany, where they have unlimited speed Autobahns. It’s one of the major reasons why they can have unlimited speed Autobahns. Because over there, Clovers don’t create dangerous obstacles to other cars; people are taught to scan their rearview mirrors and immediately move over when they notice another car overtaking them. Cloverism is also punished even more aggressively than we punish “speeders” here.

        • I am sure this will get deleted but I will try. If there are two lanes and the right lane is very crowed with people traveling 65 mph and a driver in the left lane is passing them at 75 mph. Are we hearing that if someone is traveling at 80 mph and comes behind them, the driver in front needs to move over to the lane traveling 65 mph and slows them down by 10 mph for possibly an extended period of time just so someone else can drive 80 mph, only 5 mph more than the person was already driving in the left lane? Sounds like someone’s rights are being taken away from them to me.

          • Clover, Clover, Clover… you love to set up straw man arguments – just like Clover II!

            The rule is: Yield to faster moving traffic. A good (courteous, safe) driver who came up behind the driver in your example in the left and doing 75, with heavy traffic traveling considerably slower to his right, would not expect that driver to immediately move right. But when the traffic to his right did clear up and it was possible to yield and let the car behind get past, then, yes, the driver should put on his signal and move over.

            Your issue, as a Clover, is that you don’t want to move over. Ever. So long as you are doing the speed limit, you believe you have every right to just squat where you are and refuse to let other traffic get by you.

            And that is what makes you a Clover, Clover.

          • Typically Cloverite. Notice: Another thinly veiled threat. We non-Clovers just want to avoid you Clovers; to have as little to do with you as possible. But Clovers – who posture as Gentle Souls interested in “safety” and “society” – are the ones who resort to force, whether via the law or otherwise.

            The Clover is indeed a subtle and dangerous critter!

    • That’s right, cousin Clover! Whether you’re “doing the speed limit” is irrelevant. Your Cloverite refusal to yield to faster-moving traffic is. What you and my LD brother just can’t seem to get through your cowheads is that you should always be scanning your rearview mirror and when you see a car coming up behind you that’s clearly traveling faster, you should move over to the right to let them pass before the other car has to slow down to your Cloverite speed. It is your Cloveritic inability to grasp the concept of lane discipline that makes driving in the United States so exhausting, stressful – and yes, dangerous. Probably you have never been to Germany and experienced a non-Clover-laden unlimited-speed highway, where slower traffic anticipates the need to yield to faster-moving traffic and does it as automatically and reflexively as US Clovers squat in the left lane, refusing to yield … because they’re doing the speeeeeeeed limit.

  8. “If you are in the left lane on the highway and I am behind you and traveling faster then, yes, I’d appreciate it if you’d yield and move over to the right –”
    When I’m in the left lane breaking the speed limit and passing cars, and there’s someone tailgating me, how fast is “fast enough” or “too fast”? Where does reason come into play?

    • In short: Keep right, pass left.

      Once you are done passing move to the right. Especially if someone in behind you that wants to travel faster than you.

      They should not be tailgating you, but you should not linger in the left lane.

      If someone is speeding or driving in a dangerous manner, then let the LEO deal with it. If you think they may be an immediate danger to others, then give a wide berth and call the cops.

      • Ok,,,so is the concept of multiple lanes to allow faster traffic passing, or to increase the carrying capacity of the road? Even the autobahn clogs up and slows down near cites and during rush hours. Three lanes moving at 45mph is fairly typical here in town during rush hour. I’m trying to get my mind around the idea of two lanes crawling while the third is reserved for some priviliged few. ( And who might they be and how do I join the club?)At what point does it become a matter of egocentric convienence to ask other drivers to get out of the way? And you never addressed how fast is fast enough? Do I have a duty to move over into slower traffic? DO I have a right to some degree of speed beyond the posted limit? If I’m holding a reckless pace in the left lane, need I move over to allow someone to persue a faster one?
        The classic test of a RIGHT is where it encounters the limits of another RIGHT. And where might ones DUTY to the public begin to infringe?
        A related note is another type of “clover”, the type that will overtake you, move past when you yield and then slow down! Leaving one stuck a few miles off the previous pace. Probably due to feeling exposed when finding themselves walking point and first in line for the lidar. Where does my duty to myself end? When do the needs of an unknown factor behind me take precedence?
        All I’m saying here Eric is that it’s not as cut and dried as moving over except to pass. If I’m already passing it’s far from clear when I need to move over for someone else.

        • My understanding of Keep Right Pass Left (KR PL):

          You do not want to obstruct the flow of traffic. This is a traffic infraction in many states.

          In light traffic to medium traffic density:
          1) Keep out of left lane unless you are passing another vehicle. Make your pass then move to right after you pass.
          Repeat as needed.
          2) If you are in left lane and another car is overtaking you then either
          2a) speed up
          2b) move over when safe to do so. If lane next to you is occupied, then either speed up or slow down to move to an empty space.

          If heavy traffic where there are vehicles in all lanes:
          I try to stay in the lane that moves best.
          (Usually the left lane, but not always)

          If you are in the left lane and the other lanes are filled with cars then I would think you could not safely move to the right.

          I do not know if one can “technically” receive a ticket for not following (KR PL) during heavy traffic, but I never heard of it happening. I have heard of tickets for not following (KRPL) when traffic was light to moderate.

          //I’m trying to get my mind around the idea of two lanes crawling while the third is reserved for some privileged few.//
          Funny sight. 🙂

          You may see this if there are HOV lanes on the highway.

        • //A related note is another type of “clover”, the type that will overtake you, move past when you yield and then slow down! Leaving one stuck a few miles off the previous pace.//

          This is rotten. After passing you they should have moved to the right.

          • Also the Clover who speeds up when you attempt to pass, then vengefully slows down again if he succeeds in preventing you from passing. This is why it’s always a good idea to give the Clover no quarter. Punch it. Blast by him before he has a chance to react. It’s the only way to deal with them.

          • Better yet drive a powerful pickup truck with a bullbar. If they try to cut you off smash them the f— off the road and leave dead in a ditch.

          • Notice, again, the Cloverite response: Use violence to get your way. The interesting thing – the ironic thing – is that these same Clovers will then accuse non-Clovers of being motivated by “hate” and screech that we are “selfish”! Turns out that both Clover I and Clover II are the sociopathic and reckless ones, urging death and mayhem on others. Clover I wants people he doesn’t agree with to shoot themselves; Clover II wants to run them off the road with his truck… .

            The rest of us just want the Clovers to move over!

          • This all is completely in line with my own observations over the years. The ‘Clover’ is not a name I ever used; I just referred to them as ‘bunnies.’

            There are many species of bunnies, all disagreeable and always aggressively so. In this instance I always thought of them as the ‘I hate being passed’ bunnies. Same thing.

            As you acknowledge (and has been amply demonstrated), avoidance is the best policy for dealing with these creatures. Never let them control a situation, they can be extra dangerous if they feel threatened (you know, by the simple fact your existence in their zone of perception), and as we all know, cornered bunnies will bite!

          • Hi Glenn – Welcome!

            “Clover” is a member of the pea family… aptly named, eh?

            The worst part about them is they’re impossible to reason with. It’s not enough that they prefer to “do the limit” They have to make sure everyone else does it, too.

            We live in the country and I often cart around heavy loads in my truck. This is an occasion when I am in the Clover Seat, so to speak – because I’m forced to drive much more slowly than the other cars around me. But I do not become a Clover; I move over. When I see a car coming up behind and I am doing 15 or 20 under the limit I ease over onto the shoulder and wave the car around me. I almost always get a friendly wave in return. No stress for him or me. The Clover doesn’t comprehend this simple act of common courtesy, nor does he appreciate the way the dissipation of stress makes the roads safer for everyone.

            Because, of course, he’s a Clover!

        • It all comes down to common courtesy. Of course, if traffic is dense, and moving at about the same pace in all lanes, then no reasonable/courteous driver is going to insist or expect that you immediately move over to let him by. If someone is being a tailgating asshole, he should be stopped and ticketed for reckless driving – because tailgating is the real-deal, genuinely reckless driving (unlike “speeding”).

          The point I’ve been trying to make is that the rule is: yield/move right when you find yourself being overtaken by a faster-moving vehicle. Ideally, before he’s right behind you. This is the way it’s taught in Germany. You scan your rearview and if you see headlights coming up fast, you move over.

          Here, the typical thing is for the left lane squatter to… squat. Maybe he’ll (eventually) slide over. But it’s rare to see a driver anticipate the need to move right and do so before the overtaking car is already forced to slow down. Our roads are clogged with Clovers who set the cruise at just exactly the speeeeeeed limit (or maybe a couple of MPH faster) and by dint of that think they have no obligation to move over, ever.

          PS: Multiple “speed lanes” work very well in Europe. They could work here, too – if drivers were expected to meet a higher skill level (and courtesy level) and things like Left Lane Cloverism (and tailgating) were aggressively stomped by law enforcement.

          • I have recently had a much worse problem with tailgaters and speed freaks in city driving, than with left lane hogs on highways.

            For the tailgaters, I’d want a bumper sticker that says “If you think I’m going too slow, you’re aging too fast”. I really believe that fight-or-flight adrenaline response and a desire for instant gratification, or to see yourself as the alpha male of the road, increases the rate of aging.

            On highways I totally agree with you on clovers, and I observe the left lane rules. I only stay in the left lane if I am repeatedly passing others in the other lanes or the lanes are totally congested, AND if no-one’s driving faster that wants to pass me. If the right lanes are free of congestion, I use them.

            It’s almost a euphoric experience when all of the drivers somehow magically find the correct lanes to drive in and fine-tune their cruise controls or just go with the flow such that no-one needs to pass anyone else. I’ve had a few such experiences, mainly with truckers, who are much better at lane usage than passenger vehicle drivers. These wonderful experiences rarely last more than an hour though.

            Although I may be going faster and trying to pass in the left lane, I am quick to notice when I am approaching an on-ramp with traffic and a trucker in the right lane is going to have to contend with the on-ramp traffic. I either slow down, or speed up to more quickly pass him, to open the left lane up for him to avoid on-ramp traffic. I feel bad for truckers that have to downshift or brake because they are trapped in the right lane and are approaching on-ramp traffic. When I see that about to occur and I can’t do anything to help prevent it, I slow down quickly as a defense measure.

            “Left lane hogs deserve to be slaughtered.”

            I recently made a cross-country trip and noticed driving patterns change state by state, getting worse as I went to more urban areas (with the exception that Pacific NW driving was pretty good all-around).

            When I was in a mostly-rural midwestern state with snow on the roads, everyone was cool about it (pun intended) and I could drive as slow or as fast as conditions permitted, make safe turns while maintaining traction, etc. (I didn’t have snow tires or chains, but neither did anyone else it seems.)

            But when I arrived in a midwestern college city whose roads had lots of snow and some ice, I had some guy tailgating me, flashing his high beams at me, and eventually honking at me as I was going down an icy two-lane two-way road with lots of traffic. Apparently he thought that since I didn’t tailgate the cars in front of me, I wasn’t going fast enough.

            That’s my biggest peeve — drivers who tailgate you and think you’re going slow simply because you keep a safe distance behind the car in front of you, even though you’re going the same speed as the car in front of you. You’re not holding up the left lane of a multi-lane road or anything like that. They conflate safe distance with slow speed. In icy conditions I want to give myself extra braking distance. He eventually passed me on the oncoming traffic’s lane — a somewhat dangerous task since there was ice buildup between the two lanes where the tires hadn’t tracked — and then he proceeded to flash his high beams and honk at the other cars in front of me. I half-hoped he would lose control on the ice and hit a tree.

            Other drivers seemed very impatient when I would accelerate very slowly after stopping, while it was clear to me that starting off any faster would cause me to lose traction (my TCS system even kicked in a couple of times).

            Or more recently, I came to a stop in the right lane at a stop light, and this SUV driver who was tailgating me honks at me before I’ve even had a chance to come to a complete stop, because she wanted me to turn right on red. There was no right turn only lane, so I was not obligated to turn right, but I needed to come to a complete stop because the light was red. After I turned right on red she turned right on red without even stopping and flew past me on the left lane, visibly raged.

            When driving through downtown shopping areas with 25 MPH speed limits and frequent crosswalks for shoppers, I observe the speed limits. I think these speed limits make more sense than school zones, because there are actually frequent pedestrians (including children), while in school zones 99% of the time there’s just school property nearby, and not kids walking by the street.

            There’s sometimes only one lane going each way through downtown. That doesn’t stop drivers from tailgating me and just as soon as another lane opens up, such as a turn lane, using it to pass me with a hint of road rage. This week a Chevy pickup driver who was inching up on me VERY slowly, starting about a quarter mile before the 25 MPH downtown area was entered, suddenly sped up and passed me on the right by driving illegally on vacant downtown parking spots. I guess my slowing down when entering the 25 MPH zone was not to his liking, but he didn’t have any problem staying a safe distance behind me when I was in the 35 MPH zone.

          • Hi Leek,

            I do the same as you for truckers merging (either pick up the pace to clear the on-ramp before they reach it or ease off to give them room to enter/merge safely). Excellent.

            Post o’ the day!

          • PS. I was talking about making room in the LEFT lane for truckers who are already traveling full-speed in the right lane so that they can avoid having to slow down because of merging cars and trucks, which is a little more complicated than simply slowing down or speeding up for vehicles who are merging. I am actually making room for someone ELSE to change lanes and pass the merging vehicles.

    • No one should ever tailgate; it’s dangerous and it’s an asshole act. But yes, if someone is overtaking you, you should yield and move right, regardless of the speed.

  9. Here their vehicle of choice is almost always the tiny station wagon on stilts; CRV, Rav4, Escape or Liberty. Sometimes the previously popular minivan is still used, but those seem to be limited to those who can’t afford to “upgrade”. I can cut my commute time by 30% simply by avoiding lanes with those vehicles in them.

    • PT Cruisers and Chevy HHRs are notorious Clovermobiles! Watch out for the ones with those fake portholes glued to the front fender – or flame paint jobs. Guaranteed Clover.

      • The worst Clovers I’ve seen were driving PT Cruisers. I’m talking Clovers so bad that when you finally get an opening and pass them on the right they accelerate to 90+ and pass on the left shoulder just to get back in front of you and immediately decelerate to 53 in a 55.

        The Lexus SUV that looks like an egg is a very close second, mainly because the drivers always seem to be in the middle of the world’s most important cell phone conversation.

        Oddly enough, the current generation Ford Mustang has been a problem for me. The drivers seem to assume that “fast lane” has to do with the cars appearance rather than the actual speed being traveled. On the other hand, Corvette drivers are the exact opposite of Mustang drivers. They don’t seem to drive any faster than the Mustang drivers but at least they stay out of the fast lane unless they actually intend to use the gas pedal.

        Hybrids like the Prius are driven by a special brand of Clover. It isn’t just that they are in the way, it’s that they are in the HOV lane while doing it. I like the idea of HOV lanes. Encourage people to be more efficient by offering a faster moving lane and a shorter commute. But these uber-Clovers cannot allow such a travesty to exist. They get in the HOV lane and refuse to move faster than any of the other lanes of traffic, removing any and all incentive for ride sharing. I tried carpooling here in the DC area but gave up after a couple months because all the Prius-driving Clovers caused the HOV lane to be the -slowest- moving lane on the freeway.

  10. I think this is absolutely the most important point to emphasize..
    “Never – ever – give a Clover benefit of the doubt”

    I’ve done this so many times. In fact just recently I’ve decided NO MORE.

    Nice article!

    • I, too, have been burned by Clovers one too many times. Another example is the Clover who lets a stream of cars in ahead of him, while traffic behind waits. The Clover thinks he’s being nice to the people he’s letting in (true) but forgets about all the people stuck behind him.

      • I call these people that stop traffic and let clovers in “enablers”. Enablers also let in the ‘me first, f-you’ type of driver. Both clovers and ‘me-first’ drivers expect other drivers to enable their habits. By not doing so they may get very angry, very quickly.

        The not considering the people behind them is something I call ‘american ass-backwards courtesy’ A classic ‘seen and unseen’ condition.

        • I like that “enablers”

          There are all different kinds of clovers!

          We have deer season, turkey season etc.., but how come we don’t have clover season? -strange

          • My less-bright brother thinks his “risky” activities and choices (skiing, for example) are safe from future Cloverite attention – and that is where he errs. Eventually, some other Clover will notice that skiing is dangerous, involves excessive speed and that people often ski without – gasp! – helmets at – double gasp! – unrestricted speed. And get hurt! Killed, sometimes. Paralyzed, too. Major cost to society. Major risk to the individuals involved (as some other Clover will see it).

            There must be laws! Speed restrictions on the slope! Mandatory helmet laws – and checkpoints, too. And all skiers must be required to pay for extra-coverage liability and personal injury insurance, since their personal choices impose costs on socieeeeeeeeeeeeeety!

    • Done the same numerous times to my regret. I remind my kids not to try to drive the other guy’s car for them, just concentrate on the car they drive.

  11. Thanks Eric. Daily you keep backing up my view that you want everyone else off the road but you. It is the people that drive the older car and the newer car and the fast car and the slow car and the young and the old. Surely there is one driver you like out there. Maybe you have to look in the mirror to get your satisfaction. I guess I never see any drivers on the highway that feel like you do otherwise I would see them with a gun drawn at someone. If the roads are so bad where you live then you need to move because it is not that bad here. There are a handfull of people that are like you that have to drive 80 or more in a 65 mph zone but I do not see them with a gun drawn and hands waving and horns honking and at war with the world.

    • Sigh. Once again, oh Clover: You’re the one ranting about guns drawn and saying I want everyone else off the road but me. You’re the one who wants to use force to make others to do as you think best. All I want is to live and let live; to not be interfered with by such as you, which means, if I want to drive faster than you, I will pass you. Why does this bother you so much? If you are in the left lane on the highway and I am behind you and traveling faster then, yes, I’d appreciate it if you’d yield and move over to the right – whether I’m “speeding” or not. It is basic driving etiquette but of course that is beyond the comprehension of the Clover mind.


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