Clovers, Revisited

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

In other words, it’s not the slow driving that defines the Clover; it’s the refusal to get out of the way.

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.

You don’t.

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.

Which means you do 15 in a 45 for the duration.

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!

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos. 

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning! 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)

If you’d like an ear tag – custom made! – just ask and it will be delivered.  

My latest eBook is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.  If that fails, email me at and I will send you a copy directly!



  1. We have exactly these types of clover drivers in Australia, Victoria especially. So now, when i want to pass someone, I just wait for the nearest break, stomp on the accelerator, use no turn signal, and just go. Sometimes I flash my lights till the clover idiot does something. That annoys them more than using the horn.
    Never signal your intentions to them. When the chance comes, just hit the pedal and go around the idiot. Don’t extend the clovers any courtesy.

  2. What’s the opposite of a Clover? Someone who blows past you so fast that you feel a brief sideways shudder from their aerodynamic bow wave. Then two seconds later, they’re a receding dot on the distant horizon.

    That was Elon Musk, as the mind-bending rip higher in Tesla’s stock price makes Elon the third richest lifeform on the planet, behind only Jeff Bezos ( and Bill Gates (Microsoft).

    Musk has made about $80 billion this year, pushing his net worth to nearly $115 billion tonight.

    How effed up is that?

    Tesla is now twice as big as Toyota in market value: $430 billion vs $215 billion.

    Toyota produced 10.75 million vehicles in 2019. Tesla made 367,500.

    That’s the new math, folks. Now we know why Voltaire declared, “I believe it because it is absurd.”

  3. Hi Eric,

    “The question comes up every now and then: What is a “Clover”?
    It’s living creature! Also an inside baseball term for them,”

    I played organized baseball through HS Varsity, and have studied the game intensively. Never heard “clover” used as a baseball term. Could you please tell us what “clover” means when used in the context of baseball?


  4. George Carlin: Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?
    My peeve (one of them anyway …. I have many) is people who won’t use the deceleration lane on a highway. There is no reason to put on your brakes on a clear day with little traffic to get in a turn lane. They are designed to be long enough that you can get over, then brake, thus not causing an accordion of braking among those behind you. The only exception is if there’s a bunch of cars already stacked up in the turn lane or it’s icy.
    I am also daily annoyed by people who can’t merge on an interstate. People won’t accelerate above 50 on the ramp I use daily. Drivers already on the interstate enable this habit by getting over to let the new cars in. (I was taught that people on the interstate do not have to get over to let you in; it’s your responsibility to match their speed and merge into the traffic, which is what I do when not impeded by an idiot.) So semis on this 2-lane interstate get over to let these people in at 50 mph. Then the slowpoke either A. won’t speed up, so the semi is now stuck in the left lane and it takes us 10 miles to get everyone sorted out again or B. they go from 50 to 80 in 5 seconds and swing over to the left lane and expect the semi – which moved over to let him in at 50 mph, remember – to miraculously and suddenly be out of his way.

  5. In the police departments they call police dogs who like to bite ‘happy biters’ and theyre well appreciated. Sometimes they get stainless steel caps on their canine teeth.

    In the real world clovers are happy brakers. They’ll maintain five car lengths behind the lead car and brake HARD if they detect anything in their small minds. Always love that.

  6. I confess to occasionally performing a hard brake check when said buttmunches ride my bumper for passing them. That usually gets the idiot off my tail plus the added bonus of watching them throwing a hissy fit in their car compete with wild gesticulations.

    On a more serious note I’m trying to figure our the thinking process of a Clover. I cannot get to a good conclusion about the psychosis that infects them. Any ideas?

    • Repressed control freak? It’s easy to be a bully when you have several tons of metal around you.

      Negative person having a bad day, so that means everybody has to have one too?

  7. What about the tailgaters who, when you come to a nice straight stretch with no oncoming cars, refuse to pass even though you pull over so that your outside tires are on the white line ?????

  8. Lovely. Somebody has coined a name for the self absorbed passive aggressive hall monitor driver.

    My personal favorite, and by favorite, I mean my favorite to square up with and antagonize.

    •The driver who consistently refuses to get up to a proper speed and look to see if the lane is clear when hitting the on ramp in a scenario where they can clearly see a mile in either direction and the on ramp isn’t at all keeping them from such a thing. Yet they insist the flow of traffic on the interstate is obligated to get over, slow down, or speed up so they can merge. Then, once on the interste they hammer the accelerator to do 15 over posted speed limit.
    I will consistently force these types to slam on their brakes or swerve onto the shoulder to avoid hitting me, simply refusing to acknowledge their little game by getting over. Then, to only watch them pass me like I’m standing still while I’m at 70 + mph. Easily accomplished in the tall sprinter van or 3/4 ton pick-up. Not so much in the fiat 500.

    “You can’t fix stupid, but you can make stupid suffer.”

    If only for a short moment and no other reason than a small chuckle.

  9. Clovers are people who are content to be slaves, comfortable in their chains, and demand that you be a slave as well. They exhibit this behavior not only in driving but in all aspects of life, from face diapering to the ever-more rapacious “fairshare” of taxes. Anyone trying to escape the plantation is seen as an enemy to be turned over to the “authorities” (that is, armed government thugs).

  10. You know all these diapered morons who insist that you genuflect to their irrationality to prove how much you care about them are the same inconsiderate, unfocused twats who deliberately drive HUA. They’re also such slaves to safety that they don’t look up from their phones when they walk out of a store and across the traffic lane to the parking lot. Face diapers don’t repel 7,000 pounds of steel any better than they repel germs.

  11. This is how I got to know that my cars have a hard cut-off at about 120… nothing like having to pull a 110 because the dude in front of you wouldn’t get up to the 70. Most often it’s the person who’s going at five under when you’re behind them but who then ride your ass when you’re doing 10 over once you’re in front of them. It’s most certainly a control thing for sure, and it’s reprehensible.

    • Hi Rich,

      I think many of us have had The Experience. A few summers ago, I found myself behind a guy doing about 32 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, well below the PSL (45 MPH). I didn’t ride the guy’s bumper or do anything else a reasonable person might have taken as a “dick” move. I waited to for a clear stretch of road and began my passing attempt. This triggered the Clover, who ramped up the speed of his car to more than 70 in an attempt to prevent me from passing. I had to hit 80-plus to get around this guy, who then flashed his lights and honked his horn at me after I did so.

      It made me wish for a rear-mounted Oerlikon cannon…

      • He he. I thought of a laser just to vaporize the idiot, but a cannon leaves a mess and gives the dude some few seconds to think about his previous actions!

      • There’s an inverse to this. The person who speeds past you only to slow you down. Or slows you down then passes you. Both happened to me yesterday. Woman in a lincoln does about 55mph to pass me in a 35mph zone where I am doing the usual speed of traffic. At the next light she’s so slow we both miss the turn arrow.

        Later on the interstate I am cruising along in the second lane from the right when a man in another lincoln merges on to the interstate then does a useless lane change in front of me doing about 20mph slower than the speed of traffic. I am stuck behind him and when I get a chance to go around him he accelerates. Down the road several miles this dip is trying to pass me doing about 10 over the speed of traffic. He can’t because a clover is blocking the passing lane. WTF? Later he was behind me in a construction zone still wanting to do 90mph. I don’t feel like going to cook county jail for a year so he just rode my ass until I was out of the construction zone.

        • Morning, Brent!

          I’ve noticed this pattern as well. I think some of it stems from people never having learned to drive – the way driving used to be taught. Which included such historic doctrines as yielding to faster moving traffic, maintaining pace with traffic, scanning your mirrors to anticipate the need to yield, passing with alacrity when passing – etc. All lost arts for lo the past 40 years, at least.

          • Ever watch the dash cam videos on youtube? The US ones not the Russian ones. Every so often some clover posts their video thinking they were in the right when they were clearly in the wrong. Same goes for some of the opposite sort, the overly aggressive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here