Understanding The Infamous Jeep Wave and Its Hierarchy!


As a proud Jeep owner, you’re upholding the longstanding tradition that the Jeep brand stands for with its capable, fun, and utility vehicles.

Ownership brings the potential of all the great experiences you can have with your Jeep including off-roading adventures, camping, and even attending Jeep Jamborees where you can spend time with other Jeep enthusiasts living and breathing all things Jeep!

Be aware that Jeep ownership does come with certain responsibilities and one such responsibility is the Jeep Wave.

As a Jeep owner, it’s important that you learn what it is and how to use it since there’s more to it than just waving.

Read this little guide to the Jeep Wave so you’re prepared the next time you come across another Jeep on the road and offer them the correct greeting!

What Is the Jeep Wave?

The Jeep Wave is a special greeting that Jeep owners use to acknowledge each other as they pass on the road.

It used to be practiced only by drivers of Jeep CJs, YJs, TJs, and JKs; however, now the entire Jeep family can use the Wave as long as you understand how to do it correctly to pay the right respect to other Jeep drivers.

What Is the Jeep Wave Hierarchy?

Not surprisingly, there’s more to the Jeep Wave than the wave itself!

There’s actually a whole calculation of hierarchy to be considered, hierarchy being the factor that determines which driver initiates the Wave as a sign of respect to the other driver.

The Jeep Wave Hierarchy is determined based on three factors:

  1. The Vehicle – CJs generally top the hierarchy in this class, with TJs, YJs, and Cherokees at the bottom and JKs somewhere in the middle.
  2. Appearance and Condition – The dirtier your Jeep is and the more open it is like when you have the top off, the higher your rank; cleaner and newer Jeeps rank lower.
  3. Equipment and Modifications – Jeeps set up for actual off-roading or improved with off-road modifications like bigger wheels and tires, lifts, aftermarket bumpers, body armor, and other modifications rank over stock Jeeps with no mods.

How Do You Use the Jeep Wave?

Essentially, the Jeep Wave hierarchy is based on how well your Jeep fits the purpose of the original Jeeps and how much you use it for the things that Jeeps were meant to be used for.

Higher-ranked drivers return the Wave while lower-ranked drivers initiate it.

So how do you put this into play while you’re driving down the road?

  • Do some quick calculations based on your observation of the other Jeep.
  • Once you’ve determined who outranks the other, wait for the Wave if higher rank.
  • Initiate the Wave if you’re lower rank.

The Wave itself usually consists of a vigorous side-to-side waving of one hand, but there are acceptable variations such as the wave with the index finger done with the thumb holding the steering wheel.

There’s also a variation of the variation, which is a two-finger wave with the hand still on the wheel.

Ready to Use the Jeep Wave?

Now that you know how to determine Wave hierarchy and can figure out whether you should initiate the wave or reciprocate it, it’s time to put it into action!

Get out there and wave to all the other Jeepers you pass, extending that all-important Jeep courtesy and acknowledgment of a good choice in vehicles.

But what if you get confused, or can’t figure out who should be doing what?

Just do the next best thing – wave anyway!

When it comes down to it, a wave is a wave, and any Jeep driver you pass will appreciate it however you do it.

As long as you’re driving a Jeep and waving to another Jeep driver, all is good!

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