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The Wave.

Here at I-Mockery, our readership typically skews pretty young. That's why I come to you now with an educational opportunity. Don't worry, this won't take long, and I guarantee this will be a very important bit of knowledge. This is for all the young drivers out there, as well as for those of you who just haven't figured out how to drive at (I'm looking at you, city of Los Angeles). I'm going to tell you about an important driving maneuver that you aren't going to hear or read about in Driver's Ed: The Wave.

Some of you are already thinking that "The Wave" simply refers to wave-like pattern you make as you weave back and forth between multiple lanes without signaling, and that you've pretty much gotten that maneuver down to a science. Wrong. The real Wave is quite the opposite of your sociopathic driving. Moreover, it actually has nothing to do with your car, per se.

Here's how the Wave works: imagine that you're trying to merge, make a turn, cross the street, etc. Suddenly, rather than speeding up to cut off any potential entry point you might have, one of the other motorists on the road actually slows down to let you in. You take the opportunity to get in and, this is the tricky part, you give that motorist a little "wave" of your hand. That's it, a simple gesture to acknowledge that, by the grace of a total stranger, you have made your latest traffic maneuver successfully.

So what does this get me, you ask? Nothing. However, I guarantee you've brightened that person's day just a little, and that may be all they needed to put off that psychotic killing spree they've been thinking about for what seems like ages. Now I know what you're thinking: "But that guy doesn't even work for the same company that I do. Who cares if he shoots up the place?" Well look at it this way: if after he shoots up the place, he hops in his car and tries to make a daring escape, only to cause a 10-car pileup on the freeway, you could be looking at some serious delays on your drive home. So when the time comes for a "Wave", ask yourself which is preferable: a minor wrist ache, or a bloody episode that keeps you away from your delicious cup of Ramen noodles?


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Magic Flyin’ Lemur on 03/03/2008 12:07 pm

I always wave to people who let me merge. 'Course, I live in rural Ohio, so tight traffic conditions are rare enough to merit special gestures.

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Terror Dino on 03/03/2008 12:10 pm

Over in ireland we tend to flash our hazerd lights as a sign of thanks, save our poor wrists the strain of all that motion. Waving is over rated I say.

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Mac Brookman on 03/03/2008 12:16 pm

It is a common gesture here in the Netherlands and makes everybody feel a little fuzzier on the inside.

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Icculus on 03/03/2008 12:17 pm

I am a huge advocate of the wave and when I don't get one when I let you in I get pissed. Living in the D.C. area and driving on the beltway it's sort of like high speed synchronized swimming. For the more experienced drivers maybe try giving a thumbs up or the cool guy finger gun point. Be careful with the finger gun though. If they cant see you wink you maybe open a can of worms you aren't ready to handle.

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comhcinc on 03/03/2008 12:29 pm

being from the south i just tend to wave at everyone and everything.

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Colonel Flagg on 03/03/2008 12:31 pm

I always wave to people when I drive, regardless of whether they've done me a rock-solid by letting me merge or yield. I love the bewildered looks I get, as if they're saying "What did I do to deserve a wave from that guy?" or "Who the Hell is that wierdo?". Good for hours of entertainment.

I know, I know. I need help.

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SunnyD on 03/03/2008 12:58 pm

The "wave" is always a good gesture and I always do it when the other driver lets me through. Sometimes, I'll even wave to let the people go ahead in front me, like at a stop sign and both of you arrived at the same time. Then again, these people ignore me half the time and continue to sit there staring blankly, so I just drive through anyway.

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-RoG- on 03/03/2008 1:38 pm

When somebody let's me into their lane, I go the extra mile to thank them. I stop in the middle of traffic, get out of my car, walk over to theirs and give them a handjob to show my gratitude.

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poppers620 on 03/03/2008 2:29 pm

i like doin gthe wave out here. people drive like such assholes when someone is nice and lets me merge i am usually so appreciative its the least i can do.

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Marthaeus Autolykos on 03/03/2008 2:38 pm

Yet another reason why New Orleans is better than your city: drivers are largely courteous, and living within the city, traffic is never a problem...which is great considering the roads are so dilapidated and designed more for horse-drawn carriages than cars, that it's this courtesy that makes getting around possible at all. Plus, driving is a game-like experience, having to dodge debris, potholes large enough to swallow a small car, uneven pavement, pedestrians and's an awful lot like Paperboy. Plus, the daily shootings help keep life exciting.


Kris (Guest) on 03/03/2008 2:59 pm

Comhcinc: I can't figure out if you're implying that people from the South are very friendly for waving at anyone and anything, or just stupid. Help me out here brother.

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Invisible on 03/03/2008 3:40 pm

This is a gimungous pet peeve of mine, when I do something nice for someone in traffic (let them merge in front of me, let someone cross, stop to let someone pull into a parking lot) and don't get any acknowledgment. People around the small town I live in seem to think that I OWE them these gestures. Well guess what, Bufford, I don't. Wave and thank me, because I'll remember you if you don't...oh yes I will...(Gives the evil eye to all rude drivers)

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Despotofks on 03/03/2008 3:41 pm

I'm with you Dr. Boogie, I often find myself driving more aggressively behind people who don't wave when I let them into my lane, just like I find myself saying terrible things to the backs of people who don't thank me when I hold a door for them.

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0dd1 on 03/03/2008 5:20 pm

Well... this is certainly an interesting way to look at this! (If they DID go on a killing spree, could I be convicted for not stopping him!?)

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Kirbykid on 03/03/2008 7:04 pm

Being a non-driver, I don't use the Wave much. but when I'm walking across a small patch of road without a crosswalk, and the drivers stop to let me pass, I give The Wave. Sometimes I give The Nod or The Thumbs Up too.

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monkra on 03/03/2008 8:21 pm

When I let someone go and they don't wave, I respond with the anti-wave: vigorously shaking my fist at them! Take that grandpa!


IGS (Guest) on 03/03/2008 9:36 pm

Here in Calgary the guy behind me flipped me off for letting someone else into our lane ahead of us...

Oh, Canada.


Dav_in (Guest) on 03/03/2008 9:37 pm

Being from South East Asia, we see the wave all the time. Heck, I use it as well. Its just that sometimes some people give you the wave-headshake-fist-finger combo that confuses drivers


IGS (Guest) on 03/03/2008 9:38 pm

I'm loving the people above who get mad @ others for not acknowledging their kindness.

You should be kind because it's the right thing to do, not to get some kind of instant gratification imo...

*Waves for the double post*

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Dr. V on 03/03/2008 10:44 pm

Haha, I just gave a big, hearty wave today.

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Copper on 03/04/2008 2:10 am

I remember a comedian, years ago, that did a routine about driving and either getting (or not getting) "the friendly wave." I think it was Carlin, but I haven't found it yet.

Too true, though. I don't have the insane amount of traffic to deal with that some drivers do, but I do work around a mall complex and let me tell you, I give the wave a lot, especially when I'm just trying to get home or get to work, and I often have to curb myself from giving another sort of hand gesture to the people that block the intersections when I'm trying to make left hand turns...

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Dungeonbrownies on 03/04/2008 6:59 pm

i barely drive, but its hard, so many bad drivers and so many stupid stupid stupid children jumping out in front of my car with their zillions of siblings chasing red rubber balls or frisbees or soemthing. Honestly i should put a cow catcher on the car and hit as many as possible, its called natural selection.


Lobo138 (Guest) on 03/04/2008 7:05 pm

It always makes me feel good to let a semi (or other large truck) pass. you know they really appreciate that you would move that far back for them. And usually they will quickly flash their brake lights to you ,in place of the wave, so that you know you're kindness is appreciated.


Bibbo (Guest) on 03/04/2008 10:11 pm

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave!Grrr.... Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave!

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twelve on 03/05/2008 3:38 pm

The wave is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents aside from cell phones and drunk driving,...Iv'e seen so many instances of ten car pile ups due to some driver giving another the wave indicating "yeah go ahead,..I'm in no rush and I'm not paying attention to all the other traffic and apparently neither are you,.so go ahead and get T-boned by the car on left of the intersection"

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Dr. Boogie on 03/06/2008 12:16 pm

That's his fault for changing lanes in the middle of an intersection.

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Jaimas on 03/19/2008 11:20 pm

It also gets you a rep as a safe driver and a nice guy, so it's big points all the way around.

Good call to mention this one, Boogie.

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Istoleyerkeys on 06/13/2010 12:26 am

I do give them the wave. Now...-RoG-, as far as that hand job you deliver, least someone out there is willing to go THAT far to give recognicion for a common courtesy...however, I think I'll stick with the friendly wave, me being married to a woman and all...

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