Top 10 Car-Honking Sins

May 19, 2011

Every driver on the road – and most of our passengers – has a story to tell about the loathsome use of car horns. Truth to tell, many of us are guilty of one or more horn-honking transgressions of our own.

FamilyCarGuide thought it would be fun to take a somewhat irreverent look at some of the worst-possible horn-honking situations, what we call the top 10 car-honking sins.

1.    The train-horn blaster – Scaring the wits out of any and all passersby, other drivers and passengers, dogs and assorted critters large and small, the train-horn blaster has to be at the top of the list of car-honking sins. Not only does the sound cause many a heart to skip a beat and the driver to frantically look for where in the world this train could be coming from, it’s just in poor taste. Sure we all get frustrated and wish we could literally pick up and move that 20-mph-below-the-speed-limit lollygagger in front of us, but going out and having a train horn device installed on our car is neither polite, nor safe.

2.    Incessant horn-honking – One sign of an aggressive driver is how often and how long he or she (giving the benefit of the doubt here, but it usually seems to be a he) lays on the horn. When a driver engages in incessant horn-honking, there’s clearly a problem that has more to do with the driver’s state of mind (mental state?) than what’s actually happening on the road. In any case, incessant horn-honking ranks right up there with the worst car-honking behavior.

3.    Tag-honking – We’re not sure what this is really called, but we’re identifying it as tag-honking. When a caravan of friends travelling in cars starts a progressive horn-honking, and keeps it up through miles of streets or on the highway, it’s either a sign that it’s a high school team sports victory, homecoming, prom, wedding, or some other uniquely personal celebration. Horns aren’t meant to be used this way – at least we don’t think they are (although we could be wrong).

4.    On-your-bumper laying on the horn – Again with the impatient driver, we’re reminded of how often someone rides your bumper in traffic or on the freeway and just has to lay on the horn to let you know you’re in his or her way. What does this really do to improve the situation, we ask you? A knee-jerk reaction is for the horn-layed-upon driver to swerve into another lane to get out of the way, and that’s just wrong on so many fronts. The perpetrator should take a chill pill or just take another route. Better yet, maybe a nice ticket would make the impatient driver see the light. On the other hand, it might just make things worse.

5.    Horn-honking to just say “Hi” – No, it isn’t cute and not really friendly. Okay, maybe once in a great while it could be permitted, but it sometimes seems as if drivers use their car horns way too often for this purpose. Couldn’t they just pull over and have their conversation instead of creating a mini-drama on the roads and highways? And let’s not forget the distraction of the car horn itself. When you hear a horn, it makes you think there’s something wrong. Your attention is suddenly diverted from driving safely to looking for ways to avert danger. Saying hello by using your car horn shouldn’t be part of daily driving behavior.

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