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Mrs H’s Guide to Driving Etiquette (AKA Don’t be a douchecanoe)

February 24, 2015
My wave is actually more of a vertical salute.

The ‘earnest’ wave is actually more of a vertical salute.

I almost entitled this little piece about driving etiquette – “How not to be a douchcanoe on the road” after a fabulous lady named Julia (who is an endless source of mirth of my Facebook page) threw down the term.

I love it, and had to sneak it in.

I’ve been more driving than usual lately and not just any kind of casual ‘go for a ride’ driving either. I’ve been doing ‘take your life into your own hands’ driving across the city in peak hour.

I’ve made a rather astute observation – peak hour really brings out the best in people (insert sarcasm font here).

I’m really flippin’ grateful that I don’t have to do that shit every day because I could really see myself doing a Michael Douglas somewhere on the M1 and would piss off more people than I usually do by causing mass congestion and halting the city as they drone their way to wherever they’re going in such foul moods.

There are many skills one must master when one is learning to drive. Reverse parking, right of way, how to eat sushi with one hand and steer with the other, but I think a really important part of driver educations should be etiquette.


If someone let’s you in, you acknowledge and you wave. Simples.

For me if the other driver obviously does me a kindness then they will receive the Mack Daddy Wave. I will lower my window and give you a Royal-esque cupped wave to ensure you feel the gratitude. My hand is out of the car, they will see the effort I made and they will know that I have acknowledged them with deep gratitude.

If they just tapped their breaks to let me in then they will be the recipient of the Earnest. The earnest is an easier wave to execute but still has sincerity. It is simply a matter of a quick salute into the rear view mirror but it still says ‘Thanks, buddy. You did me a large.”

If I show you a vehicular kindness rest assured I will watch you like a hawk for my wave….. and if none is forthcoming, there is no faster way to brand yourself a dickhead, and you may be in the running for the other kind of wave done with one finger.

one finger wave

Believe or no, I have never flipped the bird in the car. This is what I would look like if I did.


I love the sign ‘merge like a zip’. It clears the matter of the merge up nicely in my mind. Have you seen a bloody zip, Sydney?

It’s one for one.

One for ONE.

Do not pretend you can’t see me, speed up and keep looking straight ahead even though my car is practically scraping against yours but you’re not going to back down because you’re a douche bag.


I’m not much of a horn blower. I don’t think of it in time. I often drive past someone and think to myself “I so should have beeped you”, it’s like the smart arse come back I think of 30 seconds too late. I hate that too.

I tend to raise my voice at them, rather pointlessly I dare say because everyone’s windows are up and they’re listening to their car stereo full blast with their boot loaded sub woofer doofing their windows to shattering point.

If someone is not paying attention at the lights, a gentle ‘yo’ with your horn is totally acceptable. A full double hander is a tad excessive.


You may overtake me at any time, but do not overtake me to then slow down, or lane change like a fricking GP driver on ice. You stress me out.

Also, the undertake. It’s a little known name for a shifty manoeuvre…..Over taking on the outside lane.

It’s just not the done thing. Stick to the rules, dicknose.

I promise I was not photographing whilst driving 26km/ph. I was sitting still outside my house.

I promise I was not photographing whilst driving 26km/ph. I was sitting still outside my house.


The indicator is named thus as it is used for indicating to give your fellow drivers a heads up of what you’re about to do. Non-indicators, or late indicators, suck ten types of dog’s balls. Particularly at intersections and roundabouts.

Research suggests (my own personal experience over my 8 years of driving) that if you are tired, running late for kindy pick up and have a pressing bladder issue you are 27.5 times more likely yell expletives that contain 3 or more swear words, and generally lose your shizzle in traffic.

There are very few activities that are like taking your life into your own hands every time you do them, but let me tell you, every damned time you reach a destination without flipping the bird, dropping an F Bomb or doing a Lleyton, you should congratulate yourself.

Keep snacks in your car to prevent the hangries, hell, keep a She Wee if you have to, but keep your cool people and get to your destination safely.

Did I miss anything? What gives you the schlits?


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  • Reply Gary Lum (@Yummy_Lummy) February 24, 2015 at 7:36 am

    I’m a waver. I like to be polite. I like it when people indicate and being a recent resident of Canberra (seven years and counting) I’m slowly coming to terms with just accepting most people here don’t indicate and get confused when merging.

  • Reply Danielle February 24, 2015 at 7:38 am

    What do you mean they don’t indicate?? When turning or changing lanes? Or ever? Man, that sounds like trouble!

  • Reply [email protected] Urban Mum February 24, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Gosh – I have just had to head back into the kitchen for a little sneak of chocolate to calm me down – I have been walking a lot lately and so not too many car trips. So it wasn’t top of mind – how much I HATE rude, useless, and just plain bad – drivers. Infact I can forgive useless if they at least wave and INDICATE (I do not want to drive up their bum because then I have to pay for their stupidity). I confess the bird gets flipped from my fingers regularly and the first words out of my eldests mouth when he learnt to speak was ‘ bloody move it…’ Oh dear – back to walking again tomorrow I think x

  • Reply San February 27, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    COURTESY!!!! That’s what’s missing on our roads…. good ol’ common courtesy. Pet hates?? Too many to mention however one would be when someone sees you merging onto a freeway/turning onto dual carriageway, and, even though they have plenty of opportunity/space/time, they DON’T cross into the other lane so you can get in but rather puddle along therefore making you slow right down or even stop. Now THAT flicks my switch and NOT in a good way!!! Selfish kinidiots!!!!!!!!! The wave???? The very basis of common courtesy… SO important.

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