When you purchased your first Jeep Wrangler and drove it off the lot (or the previous owner’s driveway), you were probably pretty giddy with excitement. Once just a dream, your Jeep ambitions were finally coming to fruition. On your way home, however, you might’ve noticed a strange thing beginning to happen that made you feel like part of something – a movement even. It made you feel like you “belonged.”
It’s just a small gesture, really. But complete strangers making eye contact and waving as they drive past in their own Jeep Wrangler conveys a whole lot. It might be a full hand that waves out a window, or it could be just two fingers lifted off the top of their steering wheel, but this my friend is the Jeep Wave. Not just relegated to folklore, Jeep owners really do wave at each other in the real world.
Much like motorcyclists and Mini Cooper drivers waving to one another, Jeep owners show their respect for each other by this simple gesture which fosters community and solidarity. Esprit de corps, if you will.
Because Jeeping is a way of life.
It happens every now and again that a new Jeep Wrangler owner slips through the cracks and isn’t informed by her Jeep salesperson of her new Jeep Wave obligation. Shame on those Jeep sales associates, but we’re here to rescue those who don’t know about it from continuing to receive those ugly glares of judgment and disdain because they either:
- didn’t initiate a wave
- didn’t return a wave.
You see, there’s a certain “hierarchy” to owning a Jeep, and therefore, to the Jeep Wave. In fact, here’s the official statement from Jeep Nation on the subject:
“Warning: Owning, registering, insuring, or driving a Jeep implies knowledge of and intent to abide by the following rules, regulations, and guidelines. Failure to obey the letter or spirit of the rules may result in your being ignored by other Jeep owners as you sit along the side of the road next to your stalled vehicle in a blizzard surrounded by Saturns, Yugos, and Hyundais.”
Sounds a bit dubious, right? I know. But it’s really a simple matter because you see, when you own a Jeep Wrangler, no matter where they are around the world, every other owner of a Jeep Wrangler is a comrade and should be treated accordingly – hence, the Jeep Wave.
Jeeptalk.org tells us:
“The Jeep Wave: An honor bestowed upon those drivers with the superior intelligence, taste, class, and discomfort tolerance to own the ultimate vehicle – the Jeep. Generally consists of vigorous side-to-side motion of one or both hands, but may be modified to suit circumstances and locally accepted etiquette.”
While the Jeep Wave is rendered in good-natured fun, there are some rules that govern its delivery. Let’s take a look at those now. The hierarchy previously mentioned is based on a few different factors. Those being:
- The model and year of your Jeep
- Mods and upgrades versus stock
- Pavement Princess versus Mall Crawler versus Off-Road Beast
- Daily driver versus Tricked out Overlander
Typically, though, most Jeepers and JeepHers will just wave to any other person driving a Jeep Wrangler, regardless of the aforementioned factors. But there are those who take the Jeep Wave quite seriously for what it represents, so for that reason, it’s good to be well informed on the subject.
That being said, thanks to Andrew Boyle over at CJPonyParts.com, there is an actual Jeep Wave Calculator to help you determine where you fall in the Jeep Wave food chain and who should initiate the wave.
Pro Tip: If you’re ever in doubt, just whip it out and wave. No one will fault you for being proactive in your Jeep Wave prowess.
If you’re still confused, the helpful folks over at Reddit had a pretty lengthy discussion on the topic which resulted in this handy flowchart, which should be taken with a grain of salt and for the fun it’s meant to be:
(Credit: Reddit OP NikonD3s)
Now, on to the different types of Jeep Waves. Because we’ve received a few questions regarding the proper style or format of Jeep Waving we’ve conducted exhaustive research on the subject. What follows are our findings of the matter via All Things Jeep, Jeep Guide, and a few dozen Jeep forums.
*Observe closely and make note that: should you attempt a particular style of Jeep Wave without first familiarizing yourself with its proper execution, you will be pointed and laughed at – most likely before a return wave has been rendered.
(Credit: Reddit OP deleted)
Here’s some guidance borrowed from All Things Jeep:
- Topless: One-handed wave above windshield or outside body tub (HJL Note: the latter particularly if your doors are off)
- Topless in blizzard: Shiver and nod, hands may remain frozen to steering wheel (Head nod to Gina in Fayetteville, NC)
- Southern/rural locations: Raise fingers from steering wheel and nod
While there has been, in recent years, a number of new additions to our Jeep Wrangler family who, through no fault of their own, have not been properly informed of their Jeep Wave responsibilities, it is up to us, the seasoned Jeep Wavers to educate them and lead by example.
All in all, the Jeep Wave is a way for Jeepers and JeepHers around the world to acknowledge and salute one another along the highways of life. Whether it’s a soccer mom who never leaves the hardball or a country girl who loves to go topless and get dirty, flash a wave and carry our Jeep Wave tradition forward to new generations.
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