The Jeep Wave

So I bought a Wrangler to replace my Jeep Liberty which had 181,000 miles on it and rust holes as big as my fist. My son thought it was bad form for me to cover the rust holes with duct tape but I said it added character. In any event, it was time and I went to my friend Jim Krebs and got another Jeep – but this time I wanted the Wrangler. Funny thing is that when I first got it, my wife Janet remarked that people in Wranglers were waving at me. I said to her that maybe it was something to do with Wranglers like the Harley people give the cool, understated wave to each other. A nod of acceptance in their case. So when I got home, I went on the net and discovered that there is a very popular practice called…………the Jeep wave.

Now I found out some interesting things in my research. Number one, you should always wave no matter what. Secondly. there is a protocol which if followed strictly, allows for a point system that grades your Jeep. If it is pre- civilian dating back to the 40s, you always wait for them to wave first then you respectfully wave or maybe even salute. If the Jeep is tricked out better than yours, you also wait until they wave first. Maybe to see if you are worthy of their wave? But always, always wave no matter what. My son Jack thinks it is dorky of course but you are a bit of an a-hole if you do not wave.

Now , some things I have found in my own personal research on the subject while driving. Women tend not to wave either because they are preoccupied or prefer not to wave to a stranger. Kind of like the stranger is saying,” Drive here often?” To which they seem to say- “Buzz off Sherlock. You and your wave.” Other observations include people who try to give you a cool version. Not much effort but a quick peace sign above the steering wheel. There are those who give you the full hand staccato wave like they are saying, ” Yes- I follow the rules and obviously you like my Jeep so I will fully acknowledge you.” There are the outdoors types who have all the doors off and the top removed and give you the wave outside the left of the car. I hear that it is extra points if you have your roof off in the winter and you give the wave out of the top of the vehicle with your wool cap showing.

The wave is reserved for Wranglers. There is no Liberty wave, Grand Cherokee wave, only Wranglers. The basic design of the exterior of the Wrangler has not changed much over they years and apparently the protocol of the wave goes back many years. Veteran Wrangler owners have told me that it becomes a little bit of a pain in the ass to keep waving but I must admit, I like it. In these days of waning gentility, fraternity, friendliness, there are mechanisms that allow people to join together and celebrate life. Take for instance the fraternity of the Terrible Towel. We all feel one when we wave the towel here in Pittsburgh. Somehow these things give us a bond that we celebrate. The Jeep wave is one of those mechanisms. So, if you see me waving at you and perhaps you don’t have a Wrangler, please note that I probably have gotten so excited waving that I wave at everybody. My wife is amazed at the people I talk to on a daily basis. Toll booth operators, the guys and gals holding the stop signs at road construction sites- I talk to all of them. Fast food drive through people. I wave to the cops- it never hurts. I guess I just like people and get involved maybe where I should be a little more reserved. I need the Jeep wave like I need a second navel. But it is another way of saying- hi neighbor, nice Jeep. My son just shakes his head. SMH as they say. Thanks for reading.

16 thoughts on “The Jeep Wave

  1. Cindy Sakala says:

    You put a smile on my face today. Thanks Pat!

  2. Michael Dunlay says:


    Very proud that you now are in the Wrangler Family. I’ve had mine since 2001 and drive it proudly every day there is sun in the sky. Never even put the roof back on again.

    Patty D just bought a white wrangler with with green shamrocks on it…………

    Michael “DUNZ” Dunlay Cell: 312-952-6461

  3. Loraine Yalch says:

    Like the new ride Pat!

  4. mark says:

    Now that’s funny! Ride the wave…..

  5. Pat, first, I really enjoy reading all of your “chronicles”. This one was actually a motivator for me. I have been driving Jeeps since the early 90’s. My first was an 83 Scrambler, had a 99 Wrangler as well. Currently I have another 83 Scrambler. The motivation comes in that I am in the process of putting a new motor and transmission in the Scrambler. I miss the friendship of the “Wave” so I better get moving on this project. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Sean Cornelius says:

    Pat, I just got sold my Jeep Wrangler Sahara after almost 8 and a half years with it. I will certainly miss the Jeep Wave. Your observations are spot on regarding women not doing the wave and the protocol of who waves first. Great read! So glad to see your blog is back.

  7. Valerie Reading says:

    So glad to have you back writing! Now here in The Villages, there is a golf cart wave or nod depending on what team your cart is proudly displaying. My cart is all Red Sox and Patriots logos and colors. Needless to say, the Yankee fans don’t give me a wave unless it’s the middle finger kind. There are many Steelers carts roaming around and I smile at them because I love yinz!

  8. Janet McCloskey says:


    Sent from my iPhone


  9. Art Bonn says:

    I finally read your first post since you’ve been back, very entertaining. I think I’ll call my Uncle Vinnie.

  10. Steve says:

    Pat, this is a great blog. But you shouldn’t care what I think.

  11. oclv454 says:

    I grew up driving Jeeps….pre Wrangler. They were CJs. My dad always had one as a hunting vehicle and with a Fischer plow it was our snow removal vehicle. I think you plowed snow with me a few times ( including the time I tried to plow snow in two wheel drive). After I got married I bought the 1953 CJ 3B from Joel. Had a lot of fun with it. I also owned a red Wrangler when we first moved to Tahoe. When I lived in Bethel Vermont there was no “Wrangler wave”….. no need for it. Everyone knew everyone and everyone waved!!

  12. Gwynne Morgan says:

    Glad to see you’re back at the blog. Son Morgan has a Jeep Wrangler which he LOVES. Complete with winch for backrioading mishaps.

    All the best,


    Gwynne Morgan


  13. says:

    Good write – up Pat! Enjoyed the story. My brother, who
    Iives in Colorado, says he and his neighbors have a wave thing going based on the number of fingers shown as you signal from the hand holding the steering wheel. Left hand only. Fun stuff!

  14. Art Bonn says:

    I can’t believe that my comments are getting through even though my Uncle Al comment wound up on this one. Glad that you got into that Jeep Wave thing cause you can stand to be a little friendlier.

  15. Dean says:

    Luv the Legs Nude color!

  16. Mark Hutch says:

    Pat! I carried the mail for several years in my Jeep Wrangler with the steering wheel on the right side! And the Jeep wave is alive and well up here in Vermont! Being part of that “wave culture” is worth having a Jeep! I find that women up here always wave to me! Must be you have the wrong color Jeep!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s