Why do people in jeeps wave at each other?

By Adrianna | August 5, 2013

2003-2006 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon photographed i...

Attendant drivers likely notice that drivers of Jeep Wranglers tend to wave at each other when they pass. Not unlike motorcycle riders, Jeep Wrangler owners like to give a nod of respect to each other, but why?

The history of the wave

The actual facts behind the Jeep wave are muddy at best, but the general thought seems to be that it can be credited back to World War II. Jeeps, at that time, were a staple in the military and some say that the wave was used to replace the salute as vehicles passed each other so as to not give away high ranking officers who could be exposed. Others contend that soldiers returning home either carried on, or created this tradition after buying a Jeep upon their return. Knowing many other former soldiers served it was a sign of respect among fellow soldiers to offer up a wave to a fellow serviceman.

The alternative history to the military inspired wave is that civilians started it after making the Jeep a preferred off road vehicle of adventurous types. Mud covered Jeeps began saluting their kindred spirits as they were easily identifiable – and a brotherhood was formed.

There’s a point system

Believe it or not, there’s an actual hierarchy of who should get a wave and why. Within the Jeep community there’s a social pecking order and the details of it can actually be found online. In general, the older and more “rugged” a Jeep is the more points you have and the greater your status in the Jeep community. If you have a vintage old Jeep – you’ll have a ton of points. If you’ve got a newer Jeep and you soup it up, you’re going to land some major points as well. Here’s an excerpt of the rules (the full write up can be found at: http://jeeptalk.org/jeep_wave.php):

1. All Jeepers are responsible for upholding the tradition of the Wave. Upon contact with a higher scoring Jeep, a Jeeper is required to initiate the Wave, and continue the Wave until:

  • The Wave is returned
  • The Wave is blatantly disregarded
  • The higher scoring vehicle has passed by and is out of sight

2. All Jeepers are required to return the Wave, unless the initiating vehicle is clearly has a negative (below 0) score.

3. All Jeepers are encouraged, but not required, to return the Wave to negative balance vehicles, and take any opportunity presented to guide and mentor them about their responsibilities to their Jeeps in the hopes that they can correct the error of their ways.

4. When unsure of status or wave requirements of a particular encounter or unable to completely assess the other Jeep’s score quickly enough to ensure that the proper Jeep Wave Etiquette rules are followed, immediately initiate wave.

The Jeep wave is certainly an interesting, and somewhat mysterious phenomenon. It’s interesting to note that not even the most hardcore Jeep fans can necessarily agree on the history of the wave. However, the Jeep community has certainly embraced this tradition and its helped establish very deep loyalty to the Jeep brand for decades.

This post provided by Chrysler Warranty Online which provides Jeep extended warranties as well as warranties for Chrysler and Dodge vehicles.

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