Thursday, February 15, 2007

When and When Not to Use “The Wave” While Operating a Motor Vehicle.

The Wave; Everyone’s done it, or at least have seen it done. But there are only two valid reasons to perform it in an everyday driving situation.

1). To acknowledge someone you are familiar with.

Example: I am driving down the road and notice a recognizable oncoming automobile. I see the HUGE Pontiac sticker on the front windshield, hear the rumble and scrape from a dangling muffler, and immediately realize that it is my neighbors back-woods hick of a renter whom last I saw was dawning a mullet and smoking a pack of menthols in a lawnchair in the driveway. So, I smile, wave in acknowledgment and mutter something profane and insulting under my breath and carry on with my travels.

2). To express gratitude.

Example: I approach a four-way stop sign at the same time as another driver to my right. As stated in drivers etiquette, I wait, as the person to my RIGHT essentially has the right-of-way. I then become antsy, sigh, and mouth the word “GO!” doing my best to make sure the other driver can read my lips. It is then that driver smiles and gestures that I go first. To sarcastically express my gratitude and that the driver is clearly an idiot, I wave and carry on with my travels.

Those are the ONLY TWO CIRCUMSTANCES where “The Wave” can be deemed appropriate while operating a moving automobile.


Waving into your rear-view mirror, or towards the back of your rear window IS NOT OK.

Example: I am driving in the fast lane on Crosstown 62 when you decide to switch lanes. Unfortunately for me, you do not notice that I am right next to you. I slam on my breaks to avoid the situation where you slam your retired police-issue Crown Victoria into my automobile causing my vehicle to careen over the freeway divider and into oncoming traffic. After laying on my horn you continue to merge into my lane and only after doing so do you realize that “Yes, that it is the lady behind you that almost flew through her windshield and landed in the backseat of your ghetto cruiser.” Taking a moment to ponder what a horrible driver you are, you realize what you have done and you stop, raise your hand in the air and…wait for it...Wave.


Waiving is not going to take away the fact that I almost died. It is also not going change my mind which at that moment in time I believe you are possibly the worst driver on the face of God’s green earth. In fact, it makes me want to flip you off…which I do…Which is TOTALLY acceptable.

Stay tuned for “Creative Ways to Flip People Off While Operating A Motor Vehicle.”


Sunfish said...

Crap, I do "the wave" when I accidently screw over other drivers too! Luckily for me, this is a VERY rare occurrence and I have tinted windows so they probably never see it. Ha ha! I am now a very wave-aware person. Thanks!

Bud said...

And they say there is no justification for road rage. Hah! I say. And so do you.

Momentary Academic said...


Haha. Kidding. I think that you are a smart lady and should have a column in your local paper. In the car section.

flea said...

what did he/she expect? for you to casually wave back?

fatrobot said...

i am going to do all those now
because i was born an orthodox contrarian

Kelly said...

It's these situations that make me wish (1) I drove a beater truck with a HUGE front bumper and rear fender, and (2) I had the balls to actually slam into these vehicles to show them how ridiculous they are!

Drivers everywhere be warned - Jenni has spoken!

Grad School Reject said...

What about when you let someone in front of you on highway? Like when they have to merge on and you decide to let them in? Do you then expect a courtesy wave?

Cause if I am being generous and I don't get the courtesy wave that person becomes my moral enemy.

I currently have 368 mortal enemies...

Grad School Reject said...

Or moral enemy...you know..either way. Moral/Mortal...Potato/Pah-taht-o...[Stupid public school education....]

Sandra said...

Sometimes I wish I had a giant "UOY KCUF" sign I could hold up and they could read in their rearview mirror.

Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

I did the courtesy wave after I accidentally ran over my neighbor's new puppy....is that not the right place to use it?

I also get pissy when people don't give me the wave after I let them in or whatever. I like driving right on their ass to kind of negate my courtesy act.

BlackJack said...

Back in my high school days my friends used to honk at people on the side of the road and then wave in the opposite direction. The intent being to cause the person to feel stupid for having waved at a passing car whom they didn't know and who was not waving at them. It worked most of the time, or at least generated confused looks from the passersby who were honked at. Often times the person doing the honking was not actually the driver which was annoying if the honker was in the passenger seat and outright dangerous if they were in the back.

The moral of the story? My friends were idiots.

Glad to see that you're back blogging Jenni. :)

NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

When I pull a driving boner, like this person did, I wave too. It's a 'Sorry, I'm an idiot wave' accompanied with the wincing, I'm an idiot face. It's better than the alternative, which is the stare straight ahead as if you didn't do anything wrong and you don't even see the person. That REALLY bugs me. After I've nearly been killed, I'd rather be acknowledged in some way than ignored. Good post!