Monday, October 18, 2010

Why Honk The Horn?

Why do people honk the horn while driving their car? For most drivers I believe there's a slight misunderstanding as to what the horn is for. It's almost like when children playfully aim a gun at you screaming "hands up". Once you raise your arms in submission, begging for mercy, they pull the trigger, as if they were saying: "Die with dignity, you sucker!" ;-)

When I got my driver's license I was instructed about "honking the horn" as follows:

"Never honk the horn for any other purpose than to save lives - to help avoid or prevent a dangerous situation."

I knew then, as I know now, that most people seriously abuse the car horn. How do you make use of it? To tell other people how mad you are at them? To greet friends? Did you know that, strictly speaking, doing so is actually illegal? I just came back from England where the driving and traffic culture is quite different from that of Norway. In one instance I made an obvious mistake (while having to drive on the left side) and another car saved the situation by honking the horn. I was glad!

The day we left England a driver was upset with me "for no reason" and honked the horn to let me know. Does it happen a lot? All the time. I thought back to the days when I lived in the British Isles and knew there wasn't much seriousness behind it. Many British drivers honk the horn every day for little or no reason at all. If you're reading this, let me share some quick thoughts that ran through my head yesterday:

  1. Because of cultural differences a smart driver will refrain from possibly provoking others more than he or she may be aware.
  2. Every time you honk the horn you run the risk of triggering an accident caused by the sudden fright.
  3. I feel sorry for people who lose their temper so easily. Do you really want other people to feel bad? If someone made a mistake, what good does it do to tell them off? Will it really make them improve? The few times I've had to honk the horn at someone, even though it was to avoid danger, I thought twice before doing so for this very reason.


  1. Jeg er enig med det du sier :) jeg tuter ikke ofte. og ikke på folk som bare gjør en feil, for det skjer. Men jeg tuter hvis noen bevisst kjører helt uansvarlig som kunne ha ført til en stor ulykke.
    Her om dagen kjørte jeg mot en rundkjøring. Jeg stoppa helt, satt bilen i første gir og kikka opp veien til venstre, pga dårlig sikt. der kom det en bil i kjempehøy fart som suste gjennom rundkjøringa uten å se seg om engang.Hvis ikke jeg hadde vært fullt så oppmerksom, ville det blitt et stort smell.

  2. I know! Thnx for commenting with that point in mind!

    Sometimes it can be seriously tempting to feel justified in honking the horn. If someone is reckless in traffic, any gentleman driver feels a need to let that person know what we think of such behavior. However, even then, unless there exists explicit danger in the moment, we are not to honk to horn - obeying the rules ourselves.

    You know what I mean..? In fact, it's my point exactly ;-)

  3. ja jeg skjønner den ;)