I cut a bikie off the other day. From my end there was merging into heavy traffic. From his end—well he was riding his bike far faster than was wise for the traffic conditions and well I cut him off, by accident mind you—I’m not suicidal. Anyway I got a big old horn blast from the cranky bikie and then I made it all better.
I gave him a wave, mock slapped my head and finished with another wave—a manoeuvre that is much, much trickier than you would imagine considering that the traffic was still very heavy and I had to keep one eye on him and one eye on the road.
Anyway I was rewarded by a big toothless smile and a wave in return as he zoomed in between the traffic and disappeared. So a potential road rage incident was averted, all with a bit of theatrics and a wave.
I’m a big believer in the wave while driving. I always give a grateful wave to people who let me into a lane when I turn on my indicator. There’s always a friendly flick for those who let me in from a side street for the wave is the non-verbal driving gesture of thank you and the roads would be a better place if all drivers partook in this form of driving etiquette.
Perhaps the Department of Transport could consider including various hand gestures (and I mean hand gestures for good, not evil) in their testing procedures for learner drivers. For example: A driver lets you in to merging traffic. What should be your response? A. ignore this noble gesture and continue on your path to selfish driving or B. give a friendly wave of acknowledgement for his kind gesture.
So to help out I’ve compiled a list of hand gestures that should be compulsory study for all drivers.
The wave. This should be a friendly gesture that tells the other driver that you appreciate that he/she has done something nice for you. In an ideal world the kindly driver waves back and the transaction is complete. Everyone feels good about themselves as two good deed have been accomplished—the receiver of driving kindness now thinks well of his fellow drivers, the giver of the kindness knows he has done his good deed of the day and the karma will come back to him or her.
The broad sweep. This is when you, as a driver, see someone else in a driving predicament and make a conscious decision to make their life easier. This could be as simple as letting someone in at a t-zone when there is traffic banked up as far as the eye can see.
The lifted finger (not the middle one). This works best on country roads. It’s more subdued than a city gesture, much like the nature of country folk. It’s a slight lift from the steering wheel and is a recognised gesture of acknowledgement. Don’t do it in the city, you’ll get a repetitive strain injury.
Of course there should also be some rules about hand gestures that encourage road rage. These would be the fist and the middle finger. Using these two hand gestures is guaranteed to raise the ire of the most placid driver.
Drive friendly. Image