Slugging has its own set of etiquette that you wonít find
written anywhere. Most of the rules are just basic
courtesies, but others are truly unique to slugging. Just
like other rules of etiquette, the slugging rules are only
casually enforced. By that, I mean you will probably not get
kicked out of a car for breaking one of the rules, but you
will be frowned upon by others. Most likely, the worst thing
that will happen is the driver will ask you not to do what
you were doing. Donít get upset, because it was you who
was breaking the rules!
I have tried to capture all the "rules" and
give some explanation, if needed. Below are some of the
rules that exist today:
First Come - First Served. The slug
first in line gets the next ride to their
destination and also gets to choose the front or
back seat. Slugs should never take a ride out of turn.
Slugs do not talk. This
is not completely true, because there are times
when conversation is acceptable, but normally
slugs must wait for drivers to initiate it;
otherwise, there is no talking. One note about
this rule. Even though it may sound impolite not
to initiate conversation, there are some good
reasons why this rule exists. The driver (and
sometimes the slug) isnít interested in
getting to know the other person. On the
contrary, all that is wanted is a quiet ride
home. For many riders, itís a chance to think,
sleep, or read the paper. For the driver, it may
be the only chance to listen to the news or
relax to his or her own music. The last thing
both riders and drivers want is to feel
obligated to carry on a 30-minute conversation.
Itís a good rule. Now, with that being said,
sometimes conversations do take place, but
youíll just have to use your own judgment as
to when itís appropriate.
No conversations of religion, politics, or
sex. Enough said...
No money, gifts, or tokens of appreciation
are ever offered or requested. A driver
doesnít expect the riders to help out with gas
money. The relationship between the driver and
rider is mutually supporting. The driver needs
the slugs just as much as the slugs need the
driver. If a driver wants help with the gas, he
should organize his own car pool. He shouldnít
ask a slug to pitch in for helping him access
Cell Phones - Slugs should not have a
conversation on their cell phone while commuting. The very short,
"Hey, I'm on my way home." is okay, but do
not have a long conversation about what you did
last weekend! For drivers, it is acceptable.
The line does not leave a woman standing alone.
Call it chivalry or simply thoughtfulness
towards the safety of others, but this rule has
certainly helped many women feel safer. Notice
that I said "the line," because the
rule applies to both men and women. It works
like this: If the line has three people left in
it and the driver needs only two in order to
meet the HOV-3 requirement, the "line"
should ensure that a woman is not left standing.
Either a man forfeits his place in line so that
he is left standing, or the ride is declined
until another slug arrives. Or, it is acceptable
to ask the driver if he will take more slugs in
order to clear the line. Whatever the situation,
the intent is not to leave a woman standing
alone on the street, especially at night.
There is no smoking or eating by the driver
A slug does not ask to change the radio
station or adjust the heat or air conditioning.
Normally, the slug does not open or close
Both slugs and drivers usually exchange a
"Thank you" before and after the ride.
No "curbside" service. There
are certain understood destinations. Horner Road
means the parking area at Horner Road, not the
gas station just down Prince William Parkway or
around the block to were you live. If you have a
special request, be sure to ask the driver before
accepting the ride. Normally, as long as the
stop is on the way, drivers will not object.
Slugs have the right to pass or forfeit a
ride if they do not like a particular car. Letís
say a couple of rough-looking characters pull up
and your gut feeling tells you this ride isnít
safe. PASS. There are plenty of other rides that
will pass your own personal "gut"
No "Body Snatching." If the
line of cars picking up slugs is too long, many
times drivers will cruise the commuter parking
lots, attempting to pick up slugs walking to the
line. This practice is unfair to both slugs and
drivers. I have seen this rule both enforced and
violated, by both drivers and slugs. Hopefully,
this rule will stand the test of time;
otherwise, it will be a free-for-all.
Drivers should not "stop short."Stopping short happens when the driver
decides not to take the slug all the way to the
agreed-upon destination. For example, the driver
decides to stop at his parking garage, just a
few blocks short of the understood drop-off
point, forcing the slug to walk the remainder of
the distance. In this case the driver should
tell the slug that he is only going part way to
the destination and let the slug decide whether
or not to accept the ride.
Will Callóthe driverís option to
pick a particular slug not at the front of the
line. This situation usually happens when a
driver sees a friend in line and simply calls
for that individual.
Seat Belts - it's understood that both
drivers and passengers should buckle-up. Drivers
please allow the slugs time before leaving the
Consideration - both drivers and slugs
should use common consideration during
the commute. For example, drivers should try to
use a relatively clean car, avoid heavy use of
perfumes or colognes, and keep the radio at a
Avoid Personal Hygiene Care - both drivers and slugs
should avoid things like: putting on make-up,
combing hair, etc.
Suffice it to say that for being an unregulated system
without written rules, the concept of slugging
has a very structured approach that operates by
the will of the people.