Australian etiquette: the Outback Driving Wave

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Australian road sign in the Nullarbor. The sign is a yellow animal warning sign on the left-hand side of an empty road in a treeless desert environment. There are three yellow diamond signs, with black outlines of a camel, a wombat and a kangaroo on them. Below them is a yellow rectangle sign with "Next 96 km" in black print.

It’s all about being friendly when driving out in “woop woop” (the middle of nowhere) πŸ€—

Driving across a lot of Australia πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί involves traversing not just hundreds but thousands of kilometres of roads in near-empty deserts. This huge part of Australia is known as ‘the Outback’ because, you know, it’s out back there.

Once you’re past the last main town on the edge of the true Outback, you’ll notice there is hardly any traffic, and I mean you might not see another car , semi-trailer or road train for hours. So when driving in the outback of Australia, it’s not only customary but also a relief and rather natural to give a wave to drivers of oncoming vehicles πŸ‘‹ . And if you don’t, well, not to be too dramatic but you’re then worse than Hitler 😑

There’s actually a range of waves to choose from. Your standard ones are:
πŸ‘‹ a single finger raised from the steering wheel (lazy)
πŸ‘‹ a double finger raised from the steering wheel (safety first)
πŸ‘‹ the “quad” i.e. four fingers raised from the steering wheel (my personal favourite)
πŸ‘‹ the “international” (a raised hand)
πŸ‘‹ a military salute (somewhat formal)
πŸ‘‹ an enthusiastic one-hand wave, possibly with a little bit of choreography (you haven’t see someone for a while, I take it)
πŸ‘‹ both hands vigorously (steady on there🚨!)
And more!

But don’t feel limited to these. Developing your own unique style will make you stand out from the select crowd, but still keep your eyes on the road as you never know what could pop out from the side, like a kangaroo 🦘 or a camel πŸͺ (Yes, camels! Australia has the world’s largest herds of wild camels).

However, if you’re one of those people who enjoys the solitude that outback driving provides in an abundance, and not of the waving type, while also not wanting to violate the Outback driving wave code, you can get yourself a permanent plastic waving hand to place on your dashboard. But honestly, this is a complete cop out πŸ˜’

For more info about the Outback Wave, check out the guide (with photos) here

πŸš™ Safe driving and happy waving!