European driving in California here, some guy passed us on the right side on route 50 between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe (two lanes each way) and was very intently showing us this sign. What does it mean? What could we have done wrong?

enter image description here

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    You were in the left lane, and letting traffic pass you on the right? Slower traffic should always keep in the right lane except to pass other traffic (or to turn left, if it's not a freeway), except in right-hand-drive countries where the opposite is done. – Jim MacKenzie Apr 9 '18 at 22:54
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    I grew up in California and have never seen or heard of this gesture anywhere in the U.S.; we would need more information before we can guess. Was the person waving or wagging the fingers? What direction were the fingers pointed? The palm? Was the person smiling, scowling, or making any other kind of facial expression? A twist of the hand could be "a friendly salute," an insistent pointing could mean "pay attention to your surroundings," and so on. – choster Apr 10 '18 at 0:31
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    I disagree. Although the rule is to stay in right lane unless you’re passing someone, there are probably only three or four people in the whole United States that care to do so. – Aganju Apr 10 '18 at 0:32
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    @Aganju That might be true that people don't obey the rule in all cases, but they should, and in some states (e.g. Oklahoma) you can get a large ticket if you don't do it. And it will absolutely encourage driver gestures, even if it is legal, if you do do it. – Jim MacKenzie Apr 10 '18 at 0:33
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    @Aganju The exact statute depends on the state, but in California it is the law to yield to faster traffic, even if you are traveling at the posted speed limit. – choster Apr 10 '18 at 0:35

I don’t think it is a standard sign, but I would understand it as a reminder that there are two lanes - did you swerve over the divider, making it ‘one lane’ (and annoying him)?

  • If they mean “peace,” “victory,” or “two,” the fingers will be separated, not touching as in the image. – WGroleau Feb 18 at 22:26

As a Californian, I disagree with the previous answer. I think two fingers is is pretty clearly a friendly "hello" wave (it might be accompanied by the word "peace"). In this case, he was likely either saying:

"Yo! Sorry I'm passing you on the right!"

or, if he's being passive-aggressive:

"I'm not happy that I have to pass you on the right, but I'll make a friendly-looking wave anyways so that I don't seem too mean... but, hopefully you take the hint and move over, ~expletive~!

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