When should you honk?

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  1. Honking is just another form of communication and when done properly, you can send an effective message. When done in anger or frustration, the effect is further anger and frustration.

    If by some fluke, I drift off into la la land at a light and don’t notice it change to green, I would not be upset should someone give me a polite double tap of their horn. However if someone leans on their horn, I will likely take my time proceeding. They sent me a message (light is green) but now I will send them one too (thanks for the heads up but no need to be a jerk about it).

    Personally, I teach my students to not depend on their horns for anything more than sending a simple “hey…I’m here” message or to bring someones attention to a changing light and to do so simply with a single or quick double tap.

    Far too often drivers depend on their horns in a panic, emergency situation in hopes that the other driver will react accordingly. This just wastes reaction time. If you spend your reaction time and effort on leaning on your horn, you are wasting time that you could of spent dealing with and avoiding a collision. Furthermore…by leaning on your horning, you are putting the responsibility onto the other driver to recognise and avoid the situation. This just wasted more time that could of been used by you to avoid a situation. Since you are already aware of the danger, why waste time by leaning on the horn. You are essentially asking them to realize what they did wrong and then figure out what to do.

    It already took you nearly one full second to realize the problem and react by honking…now the other driver needs at least another full second (or more) to realize it too and act accordingly. That’s a lot of wasted time and you are putting all the responsibility on them to avoid the situation.

  2. Anna Schuler says:

    The only time I use my horn is when I see kids on the side of the road pumping their arms up and down as a signal for a blast from a trucker horn, and they laugh, and I smile.
    In 1995 I wittnessed a car run a red light as it had just changed, and the eager truck driver who had taken off the instant his was green was already in the middle of the intersection. The car was wedged under the trucks trailer and load of gravel. It was fatal.
    When my truck is the first vehicle at a light, I always hesitate after it turns green and look both ways for light runners. Intersections are the most dangerous places on the road, and there is always time for extra caution.

  3. polite taps do work better, but most motorists don’t understand you, same with a high beam flick, most only understand a high beam means a cop is coming soon. I use it to inform you you’re not using your headlights and its a dangerous light condition that requires them. The street lights are on, so should yours be, the sky’s not blue, its a clue. When do I honk? At the 5th car in line on advance green when the advance is no longer advanced and they are pushing the envelope and endangering others. I also honk when an emergency vehicle is approaching and I pull over as far as I can. The honk is to make others notice the sirens, and do the same.

  4. I live in LA. People honk all the time when they don’t have a reason and don’t get ticketed. O don’t think it’s fair, and they cause accidents.

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