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Slug-Lines.com - Slugging and Slug Lines Information For Washington DC
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Etiquette and Rules
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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 the HOV!
  • 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 or slug.
  • 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 the window.
  • 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" check.
  • 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 parking lot.
  • 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 moderate level.
     
  • Avoid Personal Hygiene Care - both drivers and slugs should avoid things like: putting on make-up, combing hair, etc.
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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. 
 

 

 


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