I recently came back from a two-week trip in the outback where a couple of friends and I travelled aboard our hired 4WD campervan AKA beloved Bessy. We drove 3,532 km from Broome to Darwin, stopping in national parks and towns (the few towns there were…) along the way.
During this blissful journey, we came across many cars, trucks, campervans, motorbikes and so forth and ended up developing an ‘Outback waving protocol’ including ‘Golden rules for waving at a driver’, ‘General observations’ and ‘Types of waves’.
Before I go on, you are probably thinking: ‘what has this got to do with this blog which is meant to provide you with insights into the PR world???’ Two things. First, when you are driving in the middle of nowhere for over 3,500 km, waving at other drivers coming your way becomes a very important method of communication… and I have to admit, also an exciting moment in your day! Second, well, let’s not take ourselves too seriously for a moment and just have a bit of fun!
So I thought I’d share with you part of our Outback waving protocol in case some day you are faced with the most important question: ‘To wave or not to wave?’.
Outback waving protocol – Golden rules:
- A 4WD shall wave to another 4WD (dirty or not… but dirty is better!)
- Hired campervans shall wave to each other
- You must return a wave – not returning a wave is plain rude or snobbish
- Don’t wave at the last second – leave enough time for a return wave
- The further you are away from a town, the more essential it is to wave.
Outback waving protocol – General observations:
- Although women are generally good communicators, I’m sad to say they are not good wavers (except for my friends and me, of course). They might just be too busy looking at other things while they are driving
- Although friendly and normally wavers, grey nomads will unlikely wave on 130 km/h roads… it could be too fast for them J
- Truckies are ambiguous – they generally can’t see you… but try your luck!
- 2WD cars are not wavers (and don’t deserve a wave in the outback)
- Locals generally don’t wave at tourists
- Those in WA wave more freely than those in the NT
- Last minute wavers can be power players
- There are exceptions to all rules and observations.
So, whether you go for the one-finger lift, the peace sign, the still hand across the wheel, the full off-the-wheel hand lift, the pointing finger, the full-on wave, the out-the-window wave (this one’s got so much dedication!), the head nod, the thumbs up, the wave across the wheel or the whole Mexican wave with your passengers, make sure you observe these rules (or not, as there are exceptions!).
We’ve become very passionate (at times delirious!) about our ‘Outback waving protocol’, growing our list to pretty much the size of a book. So if you’ve made other observations than the ones mentioned here about waving while driving, fire away! I’ll be soooo happy to add them to our list.
By Kim Larochelle @KimLarochelle