Jeep Wave Explained

Driving a Jeep Wrangler means a few things, you are awesome, you can go anywhere, and you wave to other Jeeps. But, who started this tradition and what are the exact rules behind the Jeep Wave? The basic idea behind a Jeep Wave is to wave to other Jeep owners on the road or trails. But there are some rules/ guidelines to follow based on the type of wave and who waves first!


1966 Ford Bronco


So, no one exactly knows where the wave started but online discussion has led to the following possibilities. After WWII, the majority of early Jeep (CJ) owners were veterans. This leads us to the first theory of veterans waving to each other to acknowledge each other’s service and love of the vehicle.

The next theory of the origins of the Jeep Wave is that Jeep owners like to acknowledge that they drive a vehicle like no other. Personally, this theory seems to be the true modern reason for the wave. It’s a brotherhood of Jeep owners, and we like it that way.


1978 Ford Bronco


The Jeep wave is rather simple, just lift two fingers and your thumb off the steering wheel and wave to the passing jeep. You can have a little fun depending on your mood, but any wave will do. My personal favorite is the “Naked Aussi” which is sticking your barefoot foot out of your doorless Jeep.


1980 Ford Bronco


Let me start by saying that the only rule that really matters is that you wave. Without the wave, the Jeep Wave obviously doesn’t exist. But there does seem to be a hierarchy to the wave. The basic rule is the new Jeep waves first, a respect toward the elder Jeep. For example, a 2015 JK Wrangler would wave first as I drive a 2005 TJ Wrangler, but I would wave first to a 1995 YJ Wrangler. There is also a rule on modified Jeeps and stock Jeeps. No matter the age, the stock Jeep is to wave first to a modified Jeep. But at the end of the day, waving at the incorrect time will be better than no wave at all!


1987 Ford Bronco


So, before writing this blog, I took my Wrangler out on a nice day to see what types of response I got. I must admit, there was a clear outcome, JKU owners need to read this blog. The sample size was 25 Wranglers (1JL, 12 JKU, 5 JK, 6 TJ, and 1 YJ). The results were as follows:

  • JL: 1 Wave, 0 Ignores
  • JKU: 5 Waves, 7 Ignores
  • JK: 4 Waves, 1 Ignore
  • TJ: 5 Waves, 1 Ignore
  • YJ: 1 Waves, 0 Ignores

In reflection to these results, I have come up with the conclusion that JKU owners need some education on the Jeep Wave. In recent years, Jeep has marketed the Wrangler as a standard SUV and have had great success. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, JKU owners don’t seem to have the same attitude towards the Jeep brotherhood. source

1 comment

  • None of those grills had square headlights…sad!


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