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Etiquette v The Highway Code

(79 Posts)
Serendipity22 Tue 10-May-22 16:25:43

What does everyone else think ......

Example - You're driving along when a road sign states give way to oncoming traffic, a sign that is stated in The Highway Code. So you do as you're instructed, you wait to let the incoming car pass.

Is it necessary for the driver of the car that has the right of way, to flash lights or raise a hand in thanks ( or both ) despite the fact you're not doing it out of kindness, you're doing it because its the rules of the road. No-one does it at traffic lights so why do some people feel the need to say thank you otherwise!

Personally, if I do as the road signs instructs me to do, I feel compelled to raise my hand in thanks then ask myself was that necessary ?


Germanshepherdsmum Tue 10-May-22 16:31:21

I have always done that too. Perhaps it’s a polite British thing.

crazyH Tue 10-May-22 16:36:02

I always do……

Redhead56 Tue 10-May-22 16:37:19

It is a polite British way to be however your hands should be on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road. Safety before pleasantly waving to another motorist.

MerylStreep Tue 10-May-22 16:39:03

It’s a British thing, much admired around the world ?

ixion Tue 10-May-22 16:47:19

The AA man in the 1950s, on his motorbike and sidecar, used always to salute to my grandfather on spotting his Member's badge on the radiator grill of his Ford Pop.

Georgesgran Tue 10-May-22 16:47:49

I always do, too. Costs nothing to acknowledge, although sometimes I smile and nod.

SueDonim Tue 10-May-22 16:48:04

You’d probably fail a driving test if you did that! Someone told me recently their son had failed his test in a similar situation.

I suppose it’s a general courtesy but I can understand why it’s frowned upon, in case it’s misinterpreted.

Serendipity22 Tue 10-May-22 17:10:15

Thank you ?

Yes, on the rare occasion when I haven't acknowledged the driver, I am left feeling really awful for not saying a polite thank you and I have visions of the driver thinking ignorant cow hahaha.

OakDryad Tue 10-May-22 17:22:01

This from an examiner:

An examiner who sees a candidate exhibit common courtesy in a safe manner will be pleased that he/she has a real driver next to them who can multi-task and show empathy for other road users. If you just blank others, the examiner may indicate thanks on your behalf, and will wonder whether you're up to the job of multi-tasking or even aware of your surroundings.

A simple "thank you" can be shown to any other driver by any means that doesn't compromise control of the car.


Say 'Thank you' to those who deserve thanks
Raise your fingers off the wheel when not steering while keeping your palm on the wheel
Emote thanks in another way such as nodding, or smiling, or both, if your hands are busy.


Take hands completely off the wheel to say thanks
Use any hand gesture while steering, indicating, operating ancillary controls or changing gear
Lose control of the car while trying to be over-polite
Flash your headlights to say thanks; it's against the Highway Code and VERY annoying at night. It will also be marked as a fault.

Serendipity22 Tue 10-May-22 17:26:10

Ohhhhh THANK YOU OakDryad.


H1954 Tue 10-May-22 17:29:39

If safe to do so I always acknowledge another driver regardless.
I was also taught, when driving down a hill, even with parked vehicles on the OPPOSITE side of the road, to give way to vehicles coming up the hill; however this doesn't appear to be the practice now.

gulligranny Tue 10-May-22 17:32:37

I've always acknowledged road courtesies by the raising of my right hand index finger - hand doesn't leave the steering wheel - as did my Dad, whose driving style I absorbed over many years of being driven by him.

tanith Tue 10-May-22 17:33:52

I always say thanks by raising my index finger while still holding the wheel but have been known to mutter obscenities if someone blanks me in the reverse situation.

MayBee70 Tue 10-May-22 17:35:52

DH who was a rep and drove thousands of miles a year on his own actually says thank you out loud; I don’t think he’s aware that he does it. There is a road in the next village with a very busy village shop outside which are always several cars parked. No one actually has right if way so it’s for everyone to decide when enough cars have gone through on one side and it’s time to change over. It works very well and everyone raises their hand to whoever is giving way. I guess it is a lovely example of Britishness.

Nightsky2 Tue 10-May-22 17:49:47

I give a little wave when someone stops for me. I don’t care what the Highway Code says. I think it’s polite to acknowledge when someone stops for you. The last time I read the HC was probably in 1975. I give them a big smile too?

Elizabeth27 Tue 10-May-22 17:50:50

I also say thank you even though the other driver cannot hear me.

It annoys me when the driver in front stops to let a stream of cars out from a junction regardless of the queue behind, I let one or two out but not enough to hold up the cars behind me.

Cabbie21 Tue 10-May-22 18:33:45

It would not occur to me to thank the oncoming driver in the OP’s situation, as they are just following the road sign, but where there is no sign, and the other driver has been courteous, yes, I raise a hand or a few fingers.
I am not sure that the new ruling in the Highway Code of giving way to pedestrians waiting to cross at a junction is very helpful. The junction near us can cause tailbacks near a pelican crossing on the main road. Nobody will thank you for stopping to let them cross.

nightowl Tue 10-May-22 20:53:14

DH who was a rep and drove thousands of miles a year on his own actually says thank you out loud; I don’t think he’s aware that he does it.

I always raise my hand (or fingers) and also say thank you out loud. I wasn’t aware of this until my 6 year old grandson piped up from the back ‘you don’t have to say thank you grandma you just have to put your hand up’ wink

Serendipity22 Tue 10-May-22 21:38:54

Awwww nightowl

Lucca Tue 10-May-22 21:51:49

And if I give way/wait politely to let them through and they don’t acknowledge…I rather childishly say “you’re welcome “!

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 10-May-22 22:26:56

I’m afraid what I say is not something I should repeat here.

Parsley3 Tue 10-May-22 22:31:33

I always wave a thank you if a driver waits to let me through and I expect one in return. However, I am sorry to say that it is usually a woman who fails to return the courtesy.

Lucca Wed 11-May-22 01:26:18

In a Range Rover……

Calendargirl Wed 11-May-22 07:11:27

I always acknowledge it, by raising my hand slightly, a nod and smile and a mouthed ‘thank you. Looks like overkill I realise on reading it. My DH does the raised index finger, more of a male gesture, but sometimes so discreet it goes unnoticed.

It annoys me if others fly past without any acknowledgement of my letting them go though.