The Courtesy Wave

Courtesy WaveHave you ever pulled up to an intersection and found another driver who has the right of way waving you on? Such acts of courtesy are uncommon on our highways but thankfully are not unheard of. Who would guess that such an act of kindness could actually expose the driver extending the courtesy to risk?

During defensive driving classes in basic training we were taught never to wave another driver on. The reason behind this instruction was possible civil liability if the driver that was waved on was then involved in a collision.

It is less confusing for the driver with the right of way to take it and move out of the way. This frees up the lane for the other driver to continue in the manner that everyone expects.

Please don't forget about courtesy to others when you are driving, but choose to exercise it in a safe manner and consider not waving other drivers ahead of yourself in a situation where you have the right of way. Save the wave to say thank you instead!


I have never pulled up at an intersection ...

... to find another driver who 'has the right of way'.  Particularly if they have stopped also, it's more complicated than that.

Sorry to seem pedantic, but as I've said before, nobody ever 'has the right of way' under law; there are only those (including pedestrians and other road users) who are expected to give it.

But that whole thing about waving someone on is probably redundant, so long as your car positioning and movement (or lack of) along with eye contact - and perhaps a polite nod - indicate that you don't intend to move until the conflict has been resolved.

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