The West Aussie Wave

Posted: July 1, 2020 in Uncategorized
Susannah Carr from The West’s and Channel Seven’s campaign :The West Aussie Wave” Picture: Daniel Wilkins

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We’ve just come back from a road trip to the north west of the state and observed that since the removal of regional borders, the tourist traffic has started.

I grew up in the bush and it was pretty normal in “the olden days” to wave to other road users, and you could be sure the wave would be returned.

But although we waved at almost every vehicle heading the opposite direction to us, there were very few people who waved back. Rather, everyone seemed to be anxious to get to wherever they were going without paying too much attention to other road users.

Were we more friendly “back then” or were there simply fewer vehicles on the road resulting in greater camaraderie between intrepid regional travellers?

The odd thing is that there is a television newspaper campaign underway to bring back what the promoters are proudly calling “The West Aussie Wave”.

Launching the campaign, Police and Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said it aimed to reduce serious and fatal crashes, some of which are caused by impatience and road rage. 

“Take a different attitude to your fellow drivers on the road and show them some courtesy. Give them a wave — it costs nothing,” Ms Roberts said.

It’s funny that we have to run an advertising campaign to encourage people to be more courteous, but my observation from waving to motorists along the North West Coastal Highway is that the ad campaign isn’t working.

In an age in which most people have social media accounts that encourage people to have as many friends as possible, there seems to be a shortage of friendliness, not just on the road but in many circumstances.

I think we need to spend a little more time developing friendliness. Sure, waving to other motorists is a nice idea, but we can probably add to that (without the benefit of an ad campaign) by developing an attitude of friendliness, kindness and courtesy that flows through every part of life.

Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, certainly wasn’t in wonderland when he said “courtesy is a small act but it packs a mighty wallop”.

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