Four adults in a car, suspicious?

Astro Pen

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A changing times thing.
When I was young it was pretty normal to see four adults in a car. I am writing a story in which four people on the run from the authorities are on a car journey.
I got to thinking, outside weddings and funerals, you don't tend to see four adults in a car these days. Would it actually attract police attention? The very opposite of what they want.
 

CupofJoe

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And time of day. some may not looks suspicious at 15.00 will look really odd at 03.00.
03.00 being the only time I've been stopped by the police. There were just two of us in the car but we did have a ladder on the roof rack [and apparently that IS suspicious].
 

Vladd67

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You want four guys in a car being suspicious you should check out Dave Gorman trying to win a bet that he couldn’t meet 52 other people called Dave Gorman. At one stage he went to the states and met up with three other Dave Gormans and the four of them set off in a car to chase a tornado, it then occurred to Dave that had anything happened to them it may have freaked the local police out to find four dead men in a car all called Dave Gorman. An X file in the making?
 

-K2-

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I'm missing how it would be suspicious. Two men/two women, four women, four men, youngsters, oldsters, and everyone in between. Friends do things together, even take long trips and sometimes they're couples or individuals. In fact, I'd be more likely to be less suspicious since four folks together are usually out having fun...a pair or single, well, there's no telling what those anti-social knuckleheads are up to! :oops:

K2
 

Astro Pen

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I'm missing how it would be suspicious. Two men/two women, four women, four men, youngsters, oldsters, and everyone in between. Friends do things together, even take long trips and sometimes they're couples or individuals. In fact, I'd be more likely to be less suspicious since four folks together are usually out having fun...a pair or single, well, there's no telling what those anti-social knuckleheads are up to! :oops:

K2
I'm my case 3 men and a woman. Police already on terrorist alert, so any slight departure from 'normal' is risky.
 

The Judge

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At a time when we're still not meant to be mixing with other households, it might attract attention when they're getting out of or getting into the car. In fact I saw four adults disembarking from a car only yesterday afternoon -- two men, two women -- and my first thought was they didn't look like a household bubble! (Actually, no, my first thought was the men were complete morons, as they were standing in the middle of the road, and the fact they got out the front seats and the two women were in the back didn't help in my assessment of them, either...)

Outside of virus epidemics, race might also be a factor in how they're viewed. Some ethnicities are perceived as having a more family-group oriented lifestyle, so seeing what appears to be parents and adult children together wouldn't be at all suspicious. However, if the three men are in their 50s/60s and the woman is only in her late teens and quite obviously not of the same racial background, that is, at the least, going to cause raised eyebrows.

Unless in themselves they look suspicious, though, I can't see the police pulling them over just because there are four of them in the car, especially if they're all of about the same age and apparent class. They could be work colleagues going to some kind of team-bonding exercise. But dress them appropriately and make sure they have a good cover story in the unlikely event they are stopped for whatever reason.
 

Danny McG

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About four years ago there was four of us in a car, going to work, all male. Due to lots of roadworks on the main routes the driver decided to take a seldom used coastal road, this was very early morning and still dark.

Five minutes and we were in thick fog so we was crawling along and frantically trying to see where we were. Then we were up behind another car, "follow him, he can only be going to Sellafield like us!"

Another mile and he stopped, we all leaned forward to see what he was doing and then a small fog clearance and we realised we were on his drive in front of his house.

This bloke is standing by his vehicle staring in alarm at this car in his front garden with four men frowning at him, then he scuttled indoors while hastily pulling his phone out.

We reversed up and continued, I've always wondered what he thought was happening
 

Joshua Jones

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Yeah, I don't think it would be suspicious in and of itself without context, and unless they're stopping everyone or match the description of the terrorists, I don't see that changing much with the situation you described. If there were four people driving down a highway in broad daylight, I think it would only look suspicious if someone had a pistol to the driver, were wearing fatigues/body armor, towing a howizer, or for some other reason look suspicious. If 4 people are in a car parked on a dirt road in the middle of the forest... bit more suspicious for drug use/distribution. Then again, the only way a car in that context wouldn't look suspicious is if the windows were fogged up with 2 passengers... but that may be checked for prostitution so even then...

When I was at university, four of us went to a farm to purchase a goat, and that is DECIDEDLY suspicious to a farmer! To be fair, his suspicions weren't unfounded; our intent was to release said goat into a restroom of a rival dorm. Of course, we didn't say that was our intent, but it's amazing how a farmer would just know 4 men in their early 20s in a small car, inquiring about a goat were up to no good...
 
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Dave

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In the UK? I would have thought it would depend on which people and what car, really. And how the car was being driven.
And time of day. some may not looks suspicious at 15.00 will look really odd at 03.00.
03.00 being the only time I've been stopped by the police. There were just two of us in the car but we did have a ladder on the roof rack [and apparently that IS suspicious].
Outside of virus epidemics, race might also be a factor in how they're viewed.
The only two times I've been stopped were both at 02.00 in exactly the same place. First time, I was taking three employees home. No ladder on the roof, or anything else suspicious at all, but their race was definitely an issue. The second time the Police said I went through an amber light, and that someone else could have jumped a red light at the same time and hit me. I managed not to speak my thoughts that maybe they should be stopping the red light jumpers instead, or that there wasn't anyone else about for several miles.

I think the Police are often bored during the night.
 

Joshua Jones

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The only two times I've been stopped were both at 02.00 in exactly the same place. First time, I was taking three employees home. No ladder on the roof, or anything else suspicious at all, but their race was definitely an issue. The second time the Police said I went through an amber light, and that someone else could have jumped a red light at the same time and hit me. I managed not to speak my thoughts that maybe they should be stopping the red light jumpers instead, or that there wasn't anyone else about for several miles.

I think the Police are often bored during the night.
I was also stopped in the middle of the night... 7 university aged guys travelling through the hills of Pennsylvania in a white mini van, travelling a significant margin over the speed limit... I completely deserved the ticket I received. To be fair, I wouldn't have been going at such a rate had the officer not been parked at the bottom of a hill...
 

Joshua Jones

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@Joshua Jones You weren't, by any chance, the pranksters behind the classic joke about the three goats released into a high school, individually labeled "1," "2," and "4", were you?

Reports say the poor school officials spent the rest of the day looking for goat number three.
Had I thought of that, I probably would have! I did hide alarm clocks, set at 5 minute increments, across the auditorium before an address by a member of faculty...
 

Matteo

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Reminds me of a joke (told to me by a French guy):

Two guys driving from France were pulled over by a Belgian policeman on the French/Belgian border. When they asked what the problem was the policeman said, "I am sorry, but the two of you cannot be in this car".

Thinking there was some new movement restrictions regarding the covid-19 crisis that they hadn't heard of, they apologised but asked "why?".

The policeman said, "because this is a Fiat Uno and there are two of you".

Of course, they thought this was ridiculous and argued with him but he was adamant, so they asked to speak to his supervisor. He replied "you can't. He's busy with those four guys in that Renault Five."
 

paranoid marvin

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To state the obvious, if the police are looking for a group consisting of 3 men and 1 woman and see a car with the same combination of people in it, they are going to be a bit suspicious.

But in general 4 adults in a car is not in itself unusual activity.
 

AlexH

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It sounds like you're overthinking it to me, unless it's set during COVID. Adults share cars for all sorts of reasons, including trips away, car sharing to work, being family, bank robberies, two couples on a night out with a designated driver etc.
 

msstice

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Plot twist: The police aren't initially suspicious because they assume the fugitives won't do it because they will think the police would be suspicious of four in a car. However, the fugitives do do it, and then get nervous doing it, because _they_ think the police will think it suspicious. In their consternation, they stop to steal two more cars to reduce the head count and bam! The cops are on them like flies on honey.
 

paranoid marvin

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Plot twist: The police aren't initially suspicious because they assume the fugitives won't do it because they will think the police would be suspicious of four in a car. However, the fugitives do do it, and then get nervous doing it, because _they_ think the police will think it suspicious. In their consternation, they stop to steal two more cars to reduce the head count and bam! The cops are on them like flies on honey.

Tbh I'm not sure the police would think that way; if they're after 4 people in a car that is what they'll look for (as well as other suspicious activity like people trying to nick a car). Good idea to have the fugitives overdoing it by trying to out-think the police and ending up attracting more attention.
 
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