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What’s your ‘thankyou’ signal in traffic?

(62 Posts)
Skittlesandbeer Wed 14-Aug-19 08:34:26

Realised this morning that I’ve developed a signature hand gesture for when other cars or road workers let me pass in traffic. Kind of a flat hand static wave, that turns into a thumbs up. The young lass holding the Stop/Slow sign in the rain seemed greatly cheered by it today, I’m guessing everyone else ignored her?!

That’s in the city. In the country (I have a farm), I do a more restrained lifted finger off the steering wheel with a curt nod. But I do it to almost every passing car. I’ve learnt that it’s safer to nod to strangers, than accidentally miss nodding to a neighbour (or their mum, your dh’s barber, the guy you bought those chickens off in 1993, etc).

What’s your go-to gesture (or repertoire of gestures), and your policy on using it?

Worlds0kayestmum Wed 14-Aug-19 08:37:20

Just a straight hand lifted from the steering wheel, sometimes a nod.
Lights flashed if there is glare on the windscreen or it's dark and a flash of my hazards if someone has let me in in a queue

Beelee Wed 14-Aug-19 08:38:26

I do the flat hand into a thumbs up too grin

christmastreewithhairyfairy Wed 14-Aug-19 08:39:39

Flash high beams if it's someone facing me. Hazards if they are behind

amusedbush Wed 14-Aug-19 08:41:55

Just a straight hand lifted from the steering wheel

Me too, unless I've realised I'm in the wrong lane or something and I need to squeeze in. Then I'll lift my left hand right up so they can see it through the rear windscreen, or on a nice day when the window is down I'll do a thumbs up out the window.

Whatsnewpussyhat Wed 14-Aug-19 08:42:45

Flat static hand or a thumbs up. But not both together.

amusedbush Wed 14-Aug-19 08:43:32

Although I recently let a bus out and the driver used the indicators to make the lights alternate left and right a few times, which made me smile.

sanityisamyth Wed 14-Aug-19 08:44:09

I flash lights but shouldn't as according to the Highway Code it means "I am here" so technically a warning.

I find the single lifted finger really rude and arrogant! I'd rather someone ignored me than only able to lift a single finger to bother to say thank you!

TheRLodger Wed 14-Aug-19 08:45:32

Flat hand lifted briefly from wheel. If it’s someone I know this turns into a finger flap thing. If the person in the other car is cute there’s a bat of eyelashes

sanityisamyth Wed 14-Aug-19 08:46:00

@amusedbush lorry drivers do that to each other on the motorway when they let the overtaking vehicle know it's clear. The one at the back flashes their headlights and the one in the front does a few indicator flashes. Love it!

TheRLodger Wed 14-Aug-19 08:46:10

If it’s dark I flash headlights

Skittlesandbeer Wed 14-Aug-19 08:54:03

A friend of mine does a kind of mimed salute, which I like. I have also been known to blow a kiss, if they’ve really done me a favour. It usually gets a laugh, especially from other middle-aged ladies!

I realise now that yes, if the kind person is behind me, I do my wave-to-thumbs-up with my other hand.

Skittlesandbeer Wed 14-Aug-19 08:57:12

Where I live, flashing your headlights means ‘get out of my way’. If you do it towards oncoming traffic, it means ‘speed camera or police stopping cars ahead’ as a warning. You usually thank them with a brief responding flash.

Hecateh Wed 14-Aug-19 09:00:05

When it's dark I momentarily switch my lights off rather than flashing full beam because I have found, since I got older, that even a momentary full beam affects my vision for a second or 2 - not too badly but I wonder some are affected more.

BuzzShitbagBobbly Wed 14-Aug-19 09:06:56

According to situation, any one/combo of the:

Flat hand up (visible through rear window, out of window or front windscreen)
Finger raise from steering wheel
Mouthed thank you
Hazards flash
Lights flash
A verbal thank you out the window if close

BuzzShitbagBobbly Wed 14-Aug-19 09:09:18

If you do it towards oncoming traffic, it means ‘speed camera or police stopping cars ahead’ as a warning. You usually thank them with a brief responding flash.

I recall a well-publicised case where this was happening and the warning flashers got charged or fined for doing this.

"During a week-long offensive, officers handed out £30 fines to motorists for “misuse of headlights” after they were spotted trying to alert other drivers to police carrying out speed checks.

Police argue in such cases that those responsible are obstructing them in their duty while officers involved in the campaign insisted those caught were risking lives."

Cosyjimjamsforautumn Wed 14-Aug-19 09:12:24

Like the "blowing a kiss" one - I may use that wink i have stuck my tongue out at other drivers who dont say thankyou!
When driving relatives around in rural US they were very surprised I thanked other drivers as its not the done thing there apparently! Neither is walking up to 2 cops in a police car to ask for directions. They were most perturbed, but then very helpful when they heard my accent and realised i was foreign and didnt know any better grin

Enb76 Wed 14-Aug-19 09:12:44

If it's dark I do a hazard flash - when light and they're facing me it's a flat right hand, if they're behind then flat left hand. In the village, it's three fingers lifted from the steering wheel to anyone who passes.

ElizabethinherGermanGarden Wed 14-Aug-19 09:16:10

I have tended to do a small movement of three fingers lifted from the steering wheel in a driving version of the Brownies' salute, but realised recently that it wasn't very visible so am going for a bigger movement. Accidentally did almost a nazi sure the other day so am toning it back down again, sharpish.

historysock Wed 14-Aug-19 09:18:55

The dd's and I make a game of this as we drive to school. We live rurally so there is lots of stopping to let people through and vice versa on narrow lanes. We try to find a way to make the other driver laugh. I favour a military style salute myself.

DefinatelyAWeeGobshite Wed 14-Aug-19 09:32:41

Straight hand (and sometimes a nod) for me, my husband does the hand/thumbs up too.

100timewforgotten Wed 14-Aug-19 09:35:20

Just raise my hand but I also sometimes find myself saying thank you even though they can't hear me lol.

BuggerOffAndGoodDayToYou Wed 14-Aug-19 09:39:47

*Just a straight hand lifted from the steering wheel, sometimes a nod.
Lights flashed if there is glare on the windscreen or it's dark and a flash of my hazards if someone has let me in in a queue*


My route to work covers bus routes and some narrow roads and I nearly always pull over to let buses past me and most of them acknowledge me and I respond with a thumbs up and big smile. Yesterday I was giving my daughter a lift and got stuck behind a bin lorry. I was waiting patiently when one of the bin men alerted the driver to my presence and he pulled over and signalled that the road ahead was clear for me. As we drove past my daughter flashed him a “heart” with her hands, apparently he gave her a huge smile and blew her a kiss (I was concentrating on driving so didn’t see). That sort of thing just makes your day better 😊.

wanderings Wed 14-Aug-19 09:41:26

Lift hand in daylight; if at night, I turn headlights down to sidelights, then back again. I don't like flashing main beam: either it's dazzling, or it's possible that somebody might interpret it as "I am giving way to you". I'm glad you're of the same mind, @Hecateh !

OrangeSwoosh Wed 14-Aug-19 09:43:00

Oh it depends...

Head to head, a hand raised off the steering wheel.

Behind, a quick flash of the indicators.

Sideways (e.g. if someone has moved over a lane on the motorway to allow me to move out) a hand raised at the side window as they go past.

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