Cruising through the streets with our music cranked and our cell phones ringing, it’s sometimes hard to communicate with other drivers sharing the roads. When speeds are high and time’s a ticking, we rely on silent gestures flashed through tinted windows to get our points across.
Now, we all know that The Thank You Wave when you let someone merge in front of you is a great move. It’s highway payment for arriving to your destination one car length later anytime you let someone in.
But it doesn’t end there.
Sure, courtesy wave etiquette may have started with The Thank You Wave, but the magic has spread across other places on the pavement. For instance:
1. The Pre-Wave. As in I’m thanking you because the front tip of my Honda Civic is pointed into your traffic-jammed lane and I know you see me so just let me in. Sure, you can try to avoid eye contact but I’m determined to Pre-Wave you to build up some goodwill.
2. The Apology Wave. Don’t be fooled: even though it looks similar to the thank you wave, the apology wave is typically accompanied by a big grimace instead of a thin-lipped eyebrow raise. Next time you sideswipe a van of teenagers and send them skidding off the highway into a roadside ditch, be sure to offer a heartfelt apology wave.
3. The Go Ahead Wave. You roll up to a four-way Stop at the same time as somebody else and you decide to let them turn first. Maybe they’re a sweet old lady peeking over the wheel or maybe you just want to avoid The World’s Slowest Car Accident. Either way you give them the pleasant, open-palmed Go Ahead Wave, which is sort of how the ladies on The Price Is Right unveil a new solid oak armoire.
Yes, proper courtesy wave etiquette keeps two-way talking alive on our streets and prevents chaos from taking over the highways. So when you let someone in, look out for the Thank You Wave. And when someone lets you in, make sure you smile and wave right back.