The Doc Lot

Medicine is all about pattern recognition.  17-year-old with gradual onset of RLQ pain and loss of appetite?  I know this one.  28-year-old with a painful genital rash after a weekend in Vegas?  Here’s your Valtrex.  85-year-old with unintentional weight loss and night sweats?  Better stop buying green bananas.

Pattern recognition carries over to other parts of the hospital as well.  In fact, it spills out into the parking lot.  What you drive says a lot about you and a quick stroll through the doctor’s lot speaks volumes about your colleagues.

Let’s take a little stroll through the doc lot and see if any of these sound familiar.


Honda Civic

honda civic

What it says: I want a reliable, affordable way to get to work.

Who owns it: 29-year-old hospitalist who hopes this car lasts until the student loans are paid off.


Pickup Truck

ford f150

What it says: I may be a doctor, but I see myself as a blue-collar worker.

Who owns it:  Middle aged family doc.  Lives in the suburbs.  Used the truck bed one time to move a friend’s couch.



What it says:  I care about the environment……almost as much as I care about owning a Tesla.

Who owns it:  39-year-old interventional cardiologist.  Uses cath lab call to justify owning a car with a “ludicrous mode”.


chrysler town and country

What it says: I’ve got too many kids to be worried about what you think of my choice in transportation.

Who owns it:  48-year-old rheumatologist with two boys in soccer and a daughter who needs to be picked up from dance class after clinic.


jeep wrangler

What it says: I’d rather be outdoors.  I don’t take myself too seriously and judge any doc who does.

Who owns it:  A sarcastic 36-year-old ER doc who begrudgingly upgraded to a 4 door jeep after his third kid.  (AKA – Me).



What it says: I like nature, I just don’t want to drive through it.

Who owns it:  45-year-old OB/Gyn who wants a 4 wheel drive car that will get her to the hospital safely regardless of the weather.




What it says: I never worked at a trauma center and am overconfident with my driving abilities.

Who owns it:  53-year-old psychiatrist who can spot any mid-life crisis except his own.  Never questions what Freud would say about his 100 horsepower crotch rocket.



What it says: All this income hasn’t made me less boring.

Who owns it:  47-year-old radiologist who needed something “more sporty” than his old BMW (which was also black).



What it says: I’m 5’9” and my divorce isn’t finalized yet.

Who owns it:  55-year-old plastic surgeon who is currently asking the 22-year-old PACU nurse if she’s ever driven a Lamborghini before.



What it says:  I show up to work sweaty.  I want you to know that I care more about the environment/frugality/my health than you do.

Who owns it:  That anesthesiologist who lives 1/2 mile from the hospital and always seems oddly sweaty for 7:30 AM in an air-conditioned building.

What’s Your Ride?

It’s none of my business what you drive.  Some people are car people, while other people could care less.  Like it or not, what you park in the doctor’s lot says a lot about you.  I’ve driven three of these things to work over the years (Honda Civic, Jeep Wrangler and a bike) and they all have their pros and cons.

Reading this blog says a lot about you too. You must be smart, witty, attractive and have discerning taste in writing. Good for you!

Whether you’re driving that car to your main job or a side hustle, I hope you enjoy the ride.


What do you think?  Do you drive one of these 10 vehicles to work?  Do you think my descriptions are right on the money or way off base?  Share your thoughts and comments below.  

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30 thoughts on “The Doc Lot

  1. I currently drive a Nissan Leaf. It tells you that I am hip and care more about the environment than most and value my money more than my Tesla-driving cardiac surgery colleagues do. It also flies under the radar, too, unlike the BMWs that the floor nurses and NPs drive.


    1. The Leaf is definitely the low profile green choice. If I was going to buy an electric car, that’s what I would get. Fortunately, my 2 mile commute means my 8 year old Jeep has a lot more years on the road.


  2. I guess maybe I am secretly wanting to be with the Interventional Cardiologist crowd :). This 47 yr old radiologist happens to own a Tesla Model S (non ludicrous, 90D). Bought it new in Dec 2015 and by far the best vehicle I have ever bought or driven (and 3 years and 77k miles later it is still a blast). I did foolishly buy a new 2004 C320 Mercedes a couple of months before I became an attending while doing my interventional radiology fellowship, so I guess you are spot on with vehicle brand/specialty on that one too 🙂


    1. When I leave after a night shift, the radiologists (who slept all night thanks to telerads) all pull up in their black Mercedes/Audis/BMWs. A shiny red Tesla would be a nice change of pace for them.

      I’m not going to lie – I would like to drive a Tesla on a drag strip one time and put that ludicrous mode to the test.


  3. How did you know I am smart, witty, attractive and have discerning taste in writing?

    You’re good.

    I went from “driving” an e-bike and not being sweaty because of the battery power and coolness of our northern Minnesota summer mornings to driving a behemoth of a vehicle known as the Nissan Armada this winter. I’m environmentally friendly half the year, but I’m rapidly making up for lost time.



    1. Your e-bike post intrigued me when you wrote it, but I own a perfectly good mountain bike and 60% of my shifts end when it’s dark out. There’s nothing worse than getting out of work and coming right back through the ambulance doors as a Trauma Alert.

      It’s rare that I walk through the doc lot and am surprised by a physician’s vehicle choice. For most of us it’s an extension of our personalities.


    1. Old habits die hard. I think if I won a billion dollars I still wouldn’t replace my Jeep unless it kept breaking down.

      It’s funny how the ancillary staff parking often has nicer cars than the docs. Maybe all those student loans really are a burden.


  4. Great stuff doc, hilarious! Cars are the costumes that we unfortunately have to wear in society, because we build society to be dependent on them. But as you know I’m the bike guy, If people don’t like it that I’m sweaty, screw ’em!


  5. I’m on a hand-me-down bike. Total work commuting costs are under $200 for the last 2years!!

    The ride is about 3miles and I surely show up sweaty.

    We do have a 10 yr old Accord that is still going strong and hopefully will for a while.

    The next car will probably be a used Nissan leaf.


  6. Fellow Jeep owner here – you’d better believe I keep all the mud splatter in there to prove how outdoorsy I am! That and my Instagram pics.

    Plus my husband commutes on an e-bike… our neighbors have no idea what we do, and that’s how we like it 👌🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hilarious, yet insightful post! We have a 4Runner as our family vehicle. The thinking was along the lines of the mini-van owner with a healthy dash of OMG I never want to be seen in a mini-van again (what we had that prior). My commuter is a base model Subaru Impreza for a combination of snow storms, not giving a crap when I ding it up, and counter-balancing the carbon footprint of our 45 foot diesel motorhome.


  8. Rubicon daily driver. GMC Denali 3/4 ton diesel (not eco-friendly) to pull the Airstream. And the Vespa GTS 300 to use as the lunar lander from downtown Austin home. Thought I’d have to relinquish the man card for the Vespa, but it is awesome. Fun post.


    1. A Vespa is fine as long as you own up to it and don’t pretend you’re riding a Harley. Different vehicles are perfect for specific tasks and a Vespa is an efficient way to get around a city.

      Glad you enjoyed the post!


  9. Anesthesia resident here: This post lightened my otherwise gloomy call weekend. Thanks! I used to ride my bike to work (3 miles), but now I run each way. I always thought this made me unique; I guess I’m oddly stereotypical?


  10. Love the article. Came close to buying an audi A7 after passing my specialty boards, but instead just kept my mazda 6 (bought cash off lease). Theres someone in my building who drives an a7, and while I admire the car every now and then, I feel so much better now than if I had one- I feel the car would own me in that I would be worried about any scratch, road debri, valet, pothole etc. It is weird though that all the nurses I interact with drive better cars than I do.


    1. There are few things more freeing than the first dent in a new car.

      The same nurses that ask me for money advice are the same nurses who park their new BMWs and tricked out trucks next to my used Jeep. The less you can afford a status symbol, the more you want it.


      1. There is some truth to this statement. Wealth signalling is more important for those that are insecure or not truly wealthy. Do you think Bill Gates care what kind of car he drives (I doubt he drives at all, but you get the idea)?


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