Back in the day, if you didn't like how someone was driving, you could just pull up next to his chariot and unleash your wheel spikes, à la Ben Hur. While driving technology has come a long way, communication between drivers is still pretty rudimentary.
I personally have a lot of keen advice for other drivers when I'm on the road and no way of sharing it. I've often thought I could make a mint by developing an effective ODS - Opinion Delivery System ("TM") - that could communicate my driving tips to the other drivers around me in real time. The patent is still pending on that one.
Horn étiquette (and the law) dictates that the horn only be used to alert other drivers to a dangerous situation. Some drivers, however, use the horn to communicate a host of other things, such as:
- Duh, the light is green
- My horn can magically eliminate this traffic jam
- Get off your phone and drive
- I support your fundraising car wash, teens!
- Congratulations on your marriage
- My sports team has been victorious
- I'm too lazy to get out of my car to let you know I've arrived to pick you up
With all the extraneous honking going on, it can sometimes be challenging to determine whether someone is legitimately trying to get your attention or whether they're just venting their frustration via their horn.
While there's nothing you can do to control anyone else's horn use, you can choose to use your horn only when it's reasonably necessary to ensure safe driving. Alerting another driver that they're drifting into your lane and may cause an accident or letting other drivers know that your brakes are failing are good reasons to use your horn - laying on your horn because someone is taking too long to turn left is not. When you feel annoyed on the road, remember to breathe… maybe take the time to compose a Honku… and reserve your honking for real emergencies.
What do you think? Does honking still draw your attention on the road? Or does it just seem like background noise?
- Rose R.