Communicating on the road

Anita Pavey — 11 April 2017

Caravanners are a social bunch! Be it at happy hour, chatting on UHF Channel 18 on the highway, or offering a social wave as you pass by. It’s just part and parcel of sharing the road once you leave the city lights behind. In this column, I want to focus on the ‘wave’ and debunk a few myths along the way.


It goes without saying that removing your hands from the steering wheel when towing a big rig in challenging terrain is asking for trouble. Passing a truck, navigating bends or travelling in an area of wandering stock is probably not the ideal time to exchange a social wave to a passing motorist. 

However, when the road conditions are right, there are few things more satisfying than sharing goodwill with a friendly wave. It tends to get the feel-good endorphins flowing, too!


The most common option is the finger wave, using an upright index finger. This approach leaves both hands firmly parked on the steering wheel, increasing safety. Being more of a subtle wave, it can often go undetected. A more flamboyant wave is the fan wave, using all digits. Then there’s the trigger wave, using an outstretched index finger and thumb. This often starts as a closed fist, with a rotating forward action.


Shunned by many is the idea of the passenger wave. Some schools of thought believe it is a driver responsibility only. However, with the safety concerns raised earlier, it makes sense that the passenger takes ownership of this task. But what’s to say that everyone can’t get involved? Why limit the feel-good sensation to just one party?


From time to time you see a vehicle emblazoned with a ‘NO WAVE’ sticker across the windscreen. Kind of makes you wonder what sort of miserable person can’t muster up the energy to impart a moment of goodwill to fellow travellers. Whatever their take, don’t let it dampen your enthusiasm. Wave anyway and feel good doing it!

If you are not currently waving and you’re open to the idea, start working on your wave – the finger, fan or trigger waves. Or maybe develop your own unique style.

See you on the trails and when you do, don’t forget to wave!

This article appears in Caravan World #561. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!


Safety tips driving communication drivers road