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The secret of "The Wave"

Image: Flickr

Image: Flickr


By Jeremy Elliott
Writer, Beat the Traffic
Monday, February 10, 2014, 11:43 AM

If you own a motorcycle or a Jeep you know about "the wave." You see another motorcycle or Jeep and you give them a wave. It is like a secret handshake, acknowledging the shared experience of owning the same vehicle. In the case of the Jeep you wave to show that you too understand what it is like to spend all of your money on gas, tires and suspension upgrades. 

Ask any motorbike rider about receiving their first wave and the vast majority will break into a smile and recall it with incredible detail. You can often tell how new a biker is by how they wave. Long time rider = arm down to the side, casual wave. Brand new rider = full out enthusiastic Elmo wave (usually by someone on an 80 cc scooter waving at someone on a Harley who looks like Billy Gibbons). 

Most of these "waves" range from waving with your arm out the window, an arm above your head for convertibles, or just lifting a few fingers up from the steering wheel. 

Some people know about the biker wave and the Jeep wave, but the question is – does this special "club" exist for other vehicles? Obviously if you drive a Camry or an Escape there are just too many – you can’t spend the entire drive waving. 

But what about other vehicles?  Here are a few that you may not have heard about; 

  • Corvette wave – The ‘vette wave may be one of the oldest waves - in fact there are magazine articles discussing it back in 1969 – that is almost 50 years of tradition between ‘vette owners. 
  • Volkswagon Beetle – Owners of older Beetles seem to have a strong sense fellowship and wave at each other.  There are some owners of the older models that don’t wave at New Beetles, but they seem to be a minority. 
  • Hummers? -  Apparently there are a few H1 owners that have been trying to develop the tradition but the H3 owners are not getting into it just yet. 
  • Mazda Miata - Older Miatas have a special "wave." Miatas from before 2000 had pop up headlights – when you saw another Miata you would "blink" the headlights by making them pop up for a second.  Owners of newer models just wave but it seems that the phenomenon is limited to Miata enthusiasts only – apparently the vast majority of owners don’t know about this special acknowledgement. 
  • Smart Cars – A few online forums for Smart cars have had owners trying to develop a special wave for the Smart but it hasn’t caught on.  Given the diminutive size, they just might not be seeing each other amongst the sea of massive SUVs. 
  • "Other" Jeeps – Not to be left out, some owners of Jeep Liberties, Cherokees, Grand Cherokees and even the newer JKs like to wave, usually getting a response from CJs, YJs and TJs if they are driving a modded version of their vehicle. 
  • Transit vehicles – if you watch, you will see your bus driver nod or wave to other bus drivers.  In Toronto the TTC streetcar drivers give a little bell ring as they pass each other. 
  • Bugatti Veyron – There may be a wave, but with the car being so rare, no driver has gotten to do it yet.  Not that you’d see a wave at 408 km/h 

Is there a special wave for your vehicle – mention it in the comments! 

Next time we’ll talk about road manners and why getting a wave from other drivers makes you feel so good.

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