There’s a video circulating online that shows events leading up to a pretty awful wreck involving a Camaro, a pick-up truck and a tractor-trailer big rig. Most of the jeers are directed at the Camaro’s driver, who made the final Bad Move (an attempted pass on the left shoulder) that led to the actual wreck. But as inexcusable (and unskilled) as his driving was, what set the whole chain of events in motions was – you guessed it – a Clover.
The guy in the pickup truck.
He squats in the left lane – the fast lane. His first act of Cloverism. He paces the big rig to his right, going neither faster nor slower and thereby boxing in everyone behind them, including the Camaro driver. Who, as the video unfolds, appears in the right lane, when he ought to be in the left lane because he is going faster than the truck in the left lane.
Which, recall, is the lane for faster moving traffic. Which is otherwise – by law! – supposed to keep right.
But the truck refuses to budge. No, take that back. He does budge. Forward. Just enough to squeeze off the small window of space that the upcoming Camaro was trying to exploit to get past the truck. The Camaro driver made the mistake – when it comes to dealing with Clovers – of signaling his intent. Whereupon the pick-up’s passive aggressive driver closed the gap, so as to prevent the Camaro from getting through.
This is a question I constantly ask of Clovers – and have yet to get a sane response.
What skin is it off the pick-up driver’s nose if the Camaro got ahead? How does it in any way impede him? Wouldn’t it have defused the situation if he – the Clover in the pick-up – had yielded to the Camaro, let him in?
Instead, the pick-up’s driver deliberately thwarted the Camaro driver – and then decided to “teach him a lesson” by brake-checking him and using his truck to purposely block him in. The Camaro driver’s response was absolutely reckless and stupid, too – but entirely predictable and completely avoidable.
Here’s where it gets interesting, from a psychological perspective.
Again, this is not to defend the Camaro driver’s actions. It is an indictment of the pick-up driving Clover’s actions. Wouldn’t it have been safer to – in the first place – simply fall in behind the big rig and unblock the bottleneck? The pick-up’s driver was not in a hurry – as Clovers like to put it – and certainly not going any faster than the big rig. Hence, why the need to occupy the passing lane?
This business – lane discipline illiteracy – is arguably the single greatest contributing factor to what’s styled “road rage.” It makes driving needlessly frustrating, becomes the predicate for subsequent acts of rashness – as in the video. It could all – or mostly – be defused if drivers reflexively kept right except to pass.
Or at least, yielded to faster-moving traffic.
The problem we’ve got is millions of very frustrated people who have no power in their private or work lives, who feel empowered when in a car. It gives them an opportunity to do things they’d – most of them – never do outside of a car. How many people, for example, ever just stand in the way of foot traffic on a busy sidewalk? On foot, most people accept the social-cultural convention that one gives way to faster-walking people. One certainly does not use one’s body to block people… probably because most people understand that it’s obnoxious and rude and to do so invites being pushed out of the way or worse.
But in a car – an armored steel box – some people feel safe enough to give reign to these ugly instincts.
Mark that. They feel safe. But by doing what they do, they give clear evidence that they care little about the safety of others. It’s a pissing contest at 70 MPH.
Few things could be less safe.
And yet – despite the Safety Talk – the typical Clover will adamantly refuse to yield; will often do everything in his power to ratchet up the tension. As in this video. He slams on his brakes – an act he had to know would not decrease the tension.
Another, similar, Clover tactic is to speed up when another car attempts to overtake – so as to try to prevent the other car from passing. Then the Clover slows back down to the speed limit (or less). This is revelatory. If “speeding” is so unsafe, why did the Clover “speed”? Even if only briefly. “Speeding” is either “unsafe” – or it’s not. By his actions, Clover shows us what he really thinks about “speeding.” It’s not the PSL per se that Clover worships. He will commit sacrilege, become an apostate, when it suits him.
What Clover really craves is power and control – and submission.
The Camaro’s driver was incandescently incompetent – homicidally reckless. He was not in control of himself, much less his car. But the match to the gunpowder in this instance was not the Camaro driver. It was the Clover in the pick-up. Had he simply backed off just a little bit – rather than goosed his gas pedal to close the gap and prevented the Camaro’s driver from making a safe pass … or better yet, had the pick-up’s driver simply stayed in the right lane where he ought to have been in the first place… this wreck would probably never have happened because its antecedents would have been eliminated.
Possibly – probably – the Camaro driver would have wrecked soon thereafter regardless. Because he is clearly a terrible driver. But why speed things up? Why make them worse? Increase the odds that a bad/angry driver will end up doing something stupid and reckless? In this case, an innocent third party – the driver of the big rig – got caught up in the road rage jousting between these two Clovers. He could have been killed. His truck was heavily damaged.
If the pick-up Clover felt the Camaro was driving recklessly (which he was – you won’t get any argument from me) why not give him a wide berth, maybe use the cell phone to call the porkers?
Wouldn’t that have been the safe thing to do?
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