Slugging is little more than organized hitchhiking.

You see them in the morning, you see them out at night. You see them in the driving rain, you see them in sunlight. Slugs—that strangely derogatory term for people lining up for a free ride—are everywhere in Northern Virginia and D.C.

All you have to do to try your hand at slugging is go to a slug lot, get in a slug line, and jump in the car of a driver going where you need to go. Despite the informal nature of slugging, though, most veteran slugs and drivers can agree on these cardinal rules. Without further ado, I give you the Six Commandments of Slugging:

1. Thou shalt not be a Chatty Cathy.

The ideal slug is a pleasantly silent lump in the backseat. You're one step up from having a blow-up doll back there so your driver can get in the HOV lane, so act like one.  

2. Thou shalt not be stinky.

Put down the Axe Body Spray and just step away. Seriously. No one wants to tumble out of their car smelling like your perfume; trust me. Even if J. Lo's newest scent is taking the East Coast by storm, your fellow slugs and drivers would prefer that you wait until you get to work before you douse yourself in it.


3. Thou shalt not feed your face incessantly.

This goes double for stinky food (see above), but eating in someone else's car is a serious no-no when you're slugging. A cough drop or hard candy is fine, but don't even THINK about bringing anything drippy or crumby in the car.

4. Thou shalt not take a mile when given an inch.

There are designated pick-up and drop-off spots. Don't put your driver in an awkward situation by asking for a more specific location (like your front door) or you may find yourself being blackballed the next time you get in line.

5. Thou shalt not drive like a jackass.

This one's for the drivers. You don't know if your slugs are triggered by your NASCAR-style driving, so rein it in. You can drive like your hair's on fire on your own time.

6. Thou shalt not be creepy.

Drivers, don't engage child locks in the middle of a ride. Slugs, don't hit on anyone. Everyone keep your hands to yourself, or this car is turning around.

All kidding aside, slugging is a great way to get to work. Drivers can pick up slugs and save hundreds each month on toll lanes! For more information about how to slug, where to slug, and online discussions, visit the Slug Lines Facebook page or the Slug Lines website. It's not as hard as you think, and you could easily save a ton of money doing it! I guess there IS such a thing as a free ride, after all.

Did I miss any of the cardinal rules of slugging? Sound off in the comments about your biggest slugging pet peeves!