The Jeep Wave Explained

The Jeep Wave Explained

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Andrew Boyle

Owning a Jeep doesn’t just open up the opportunity to traverse the path less traveled, you also gain a kinship among all Jeep owners. This camaraderie is on display every time you pass another person driving a Jeep in the form of a wave. The Jeep Wave is an honor bestowed upon those drivers with the superior intelligence, taste, class and discomfort tolerance to own the ultimate vehicle: The Jeep.

"The Jeep Wave is an honor"

“Warning: Owning, registering, insuring, or driving a Jeep implies knowledge of, and intent to abide by the following rules, regulations, and guidelines. Failure to obey the letter or spirit of the rules may result in you being ignored by other Jeep owners as you sit along the side of the road next to your stalled vehicle in a blizzard surrounded by Saturns, Yugos, and Hyundais. — Jeep Talk”

Originally practiced by Jeep owners driving the CJ, YJ, TJ, and JK, the Jeep Wave now extends to all members of the Jeep family. The Jeep Wave generally consists of a vigorous side-to-side motion of one or both hands, a raised hand waving, or two or four fingers extended upward from the steering wheel. While these are generally what describe the Jeep Wave, it may be modified to suit circumstances and locally accepted etiquette. Some examples of commonly accepted modifications are having your Jeep top off and a one-handed wave above the windshield or outside body tub. Or, if you find yourself in a southern or more rural location, the wave is usually just a raise of fingers from the steering wheel and a nod.

The rules for the Jeep Wave are pretty straightforward. All Jeepers are responsible for upholding the tradition of the wave. If a fellow Jeeper waves, you are required to return the wave even if that Jeeper is driving a Grand Cherokee or Compass. It’s as simple as that.

Jeeps aren’t the only vehicles whose drivers wave to one another. There have been sightings of Mini-Cooper drivers, Porsche drivers, classic car drivers, and Harley riders sharing waves with each other as well. But there can only be one Jeep Wave.

Interested in finding out where you stand in the Jeep Wave Hierarchy? Then check out our Jeep Wave Score Calculator!

Jeep Wrangler Offroad

Sources: Own a Jeep Wrangler? Then You're Doing the Jeep Wave, Right?, Jeep FunTimes Guide | The Jeep Wave, Bushwacker |

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.