The question comes up every now and then: What is a “Clover”?
It’s living creature! Also an inside baseball term for them, used by EPautos regulars to denote passive-aggressive/oblivious/indifferent drivers who do things like drive well below the speed limit without moving over to let the cars stacking up behind them get by.
Slow driving sometimes can’t be helped. The tractor that can’t go faster; the loaded truck struggling up a grade. The older person who isn’t comfortable driving the speed limit.
It’s when yielding isn’t practiced that the Clover appellation is awarded.
Clover behavior also includes speeding up when another driver is trying to pass them, then slowing down (usually, to below the speed limit) once the pass has been thwarted.
The flashing of lights and honking of horns when someone successfully manages to pass them.
Sometimes, you will encounter serial Clovers. One at the head of a slow-motion conga line, with another behind him – maintaining 4-5 car lengths of distance (at 38 MPH) to make it that much harder for anyone behind the second Clover to pass both that Clover and the Clover ahead of him.
Clovers also like to take their time noticing light changes. At the expense of your time. The light goes green, but they don’t move until they’ve finished texting or changing the radio station. You get to wait while they do. If it’s one of those left turn signals that changes so quickly only 3-4 cars can make it through, only 1-2 make it (including the Clover) but you get to wait for another light cycle.
A variation on this theme is the maintenance of at least a car-length’s air gap between the Clover’s car and the car ahead when stopped to wait for a light at the same left turn lane. Instead of 4-5 cars being able to fit in the turn lane, only 2-3 can fit. When the light goes green, Clover makes it through the light.
The most classic Clover move – or rather, lack of movement – is to neither exceed nor fall below the speed of the car to his right while using his car to block the left lane. A rolling roadblock is thus created. The Clover is deliberately oblivious to the cars behind him, who would obviously like to get by. Who have the right-of-way to get by.
He chooses not to see them, purposely maintains a speed just fast enough to keep pace with the car to his right without letting it creep ahead enough to open a gap large enough for anyone behind the two to pass either of them.
Clovers have difficulty with bicycles. They won’t pass unless they can do so by occupying half of the opposing lane of traffic. Which means if there is any traffic in the opposing lane, the Clover won’t pass the cyclist doing 15 in a 45.
Clovers claim to venerate traffic law but violate it themselves routinely. They denounce “speeders” – for exceeding the speed limit, which is contrary to traffic law – but reflexively fail to yield to faster-moving traffic (per the above examples) which is also contrary to traffic law. They will stop in the middle of a busy road to virtue-signal right-of-way to a pedestrian who doesn’t have it. Not take their turn at a four-way stop, waving every other car through the intersection – contrary to the law – creating confusion and delay.
They will also almost stop if they see a snowflake – or a cloud. If they see more than one snowflake, they will sometimes turn on their four-way flashers and reduce their speed to the hardly moving, seeing to it that you hardly move along with them.
Observe that all of these are deliberate acts. Mere incompetence doesn’t quite explain it. The Clover is out to make a point, using his vehicle to make it. Very few people will just stand there on a flight of stairs or busy sidewalk. Almost everyone on foot will make an effort to get out of the way of other people who are trying to get where they’re going. But put some people in a car and they lose this sense of social courtesy and assert their own sense of how things ought to be – as defined by themselves. If they want to go slow, you must go slow, too.
Cloverism is a form of religion because it requires obedience to a dogma – saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety, in this case. But it is a false dogma (of a piece with the dogma of the Holy Face Diaper, practiced by the same kinds of people).
Because it is unsafe to impede the flow of traffic.
It is unsafe to not use your rearview mirror – or to ignore what’s in it. It is unsafe to stop in the middle of the road and hand-wave a pedestrian across the road. Because other cars might not stop – because they have the right of way.
Most of all, it is very unsafe to not make the effort to learn how to drive competently – which includes considerately. Clovers never master the former but are high masters at the art of being inconsiderate.
And now you know what being a Clover is all about!
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