Do you retaliate to horn honking?
No one’s perfect; I get that. Mistakes do happen and if we’re lucky, we can learn something from them. But let’s be honest with ourselves; no one wants to make a mistake and many people dislike being told when they do make a mistake. Driving takes teamwork and the ability to swallow your pride if you do make a mistake. With that being said, how do you take it when someone honks at you because you’ve made a mistake?
While I was recently out for a walk, I saw a vehicle approaching my way who was straddling their lane. Their driver’s side wheels were across the lane markings with traffic in the next lane. It was a few seconds later that a driver approaching from their side tapped the horn to get their attention to move back into their lane. The reply of the driver straddling the lane – they honked back…and a few times at that. I guess they took offence of the horn honking.
Honking the horn doesn’t always have to be negative, does it? In this case, it was more like; ”Excuse me, but you’re partially in my lane and I would like to get by.” I think the correct response could have been; “Oops, okay.” as the driver fully returned to their own lane. Being corrected after a mistake is normal and part of life. Accept it and move on.
I remember driving down a busy street with one lane in each direction but with parked vehicles at the side of the road in both directions. As I came up to one area, a pedestrian was walking toward my path from between the parked vehicles not looking in my direction. I tapped my horn to get their attention and they flipped me off and yelled obscenities at me. Why? Was their intention to walk directly in my path to get struck by my vehicle? I doubt it.
North America seems to have taken a negative approach to horn honking compared to other jurisdictions. A light tap of the horn has been deemed a “friendly” form of honking, yet some drivers still take offence to that. As I would say to my kids; “Suck it up, buttercup.” It’s not the end of the world. It’s a friendly reminder to pay more attention to what you’re doing so you don’t get injured or killed.
Now, when you are annoyed, I’m sure you’ve laid on the horn long and loud, haven’t you? You really wanted to let that other person know you were really annoyed with what they did, right? How do you feel after honking? Better? Good, but you need to let go of that situation and stay focused on the driving task. If not, you may be the one getting honked at next. If so, how would you take it?
**Here’s another look at when honking isn’t a good idea; “Honk twice if you love me”