×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Verbiage: Honking the car's horn, and if it helps.

Chacham (981) writes | more than 9 years ago

User Journal 6

Cars have horns, and depending on one's location, it is often overused. What is the point of the horn?

When younger, i used the horn as an anxiety release. More recently, a friend that has a horn that really doesn't make much noise, when frustrated really slams the horn. When questioned as to why he does that, he replied that it simply lets off steam. It doesn't really matter if the other person hears it. Good point.

Cars have horns, and depending on one's location, it is often overused. What is the point of the horn?

When younger, i used the horn as an anxiety release. More recently, a friend that has a horn that really doesn't make much noise, when frustrated really slams the horn. When questioned as to why he does that, he replied that it simply lets off steam. It doesn't really matter if the other person hears it. Good point.

I'm more reluctant to honk. When people honk at me i go on defense, as if the honker meant that honk seriously. I don't want to put others in that situation, so i am reluctant to honk. Recently, when driving with a friend, an older person was cutting into my lane. He told me to honk. I asked what it would help.

Some time ago, someone (iirc, my younger brother) suggested that honking is useless. If against a youngster, he'll just get offended and fight back. If against a senior, he'll get nervous and scared, and probably drive worse until he calms down. If against anyone else, he'll probably suppress it, go home and beat his wife and kids, or take it out on a friend or co-worker. As such, honking has negative implications, and very little positive ones.

There is no question that honking is good at times. The person who backs up and doesn't see you (especially when you are going too quickly to stop out of their way) must be notified about this. A honk does it, and is acceptable for the safety involved. Yet still, when i receive it, i feel the urge to feel offended. It's almost as if i wish there were two horns. One with a loud annoying sound to bother the other person (which of course should never be used), and the other a softer or gentler sound, such as the princess in SMB2, for the purpose of notification.

In summary, i think horns are much too overused, there should be a softer variant, and people should have some other form of stress relief.

6 comments

Driver's manual says... (1)

mskfisher (22425) | more than 9 years ago | (#8389147)

When I was studying for my Minnesota driver's exam, the driver's manual mentioned that the horn is only to be used in cases of emergency. I tend to agree with that, except for cases when someone is not paying attention to a short light (witnessed this a couple days ago).

Then again, I have probably only used my horn once out of necessity, and only ever been honked at a couple times.

Re:Driver's manual says... (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 9 years ago | (#8390030)

the driver's manual mentioned that the horn is only to be used in cases of emergency.

Really? That's good. I just find that strange for them to get it correctly! :)

I tend to agree with that, except for cases when someone is not paying attention to a short light

Yeah. The attention grabber. It works. Though, personally, i'd prefer rallying the driver with nerf darts. :P

honking saved me gobs of $$$ (1)

memfree (227515) | more than 9 years ago | (#8389427)

While honking rarely helps get stopped traffic to move, honking is useful to alert other drivers.

Like the backing-up example, when the car in the other lane doesn't notice he's merging into YOU, a honk helps. Sometimes honking reminds cell phone abusers their conversation does not keep lights red ('Oh, it's green now? How'd that happen?').

Even in evil stuck traffic -- when the driver stops mid-street to wait for the woman chatting in front of the hair salon -- honking at least gives some indication to the cars behind you that YOU aren't the one tying things up and *might* annoy the chatters enough to bring their conversation to an end ... but I'm reluctant to use the horn for those reasons. First, it adds to rudeness, and second, I expect drivers with that level of arrogance to be the most likely to shoot honkers.

When I was involved in my first major car accident this winter, the witness had been focused on the idiot-semi-driver who the witness suspected was going to miss the turn. From my POV -- coming to the green-lit intersection and seeing the semi in the oncoming turn lane -- I didn't realize the semi's speed, nor expect that he'd disregard basic traffic rules. I expected the semi to continue forward in its turn lane while waiting for me to pass (what with the green light and all) and *then* turn when I was out of the way.

I realized the semi wanted to make _me_ stop when he started turning across my lane, but by then I was too close to do anything but honk and make a feeble attempt at breaking-on-ice. Honking got the witness to notice that I was there before the semi obscurred me from view. The witness said he knew it was gonna be ugly as soon as he realized I was there.

If the witness hadn't seen me before impact, he might have just maneuvered past an apparently stalled truck with no knowledge that there was a totaled vehicle partially under the opposite side.

As it was, the witness feared for my life, called the ambulance and testified against the lying SOB trucker who claimed he'd had a green arrow and that *I'd* been the one at fault. The witness and I knew without question that I had the green, so the trucking company's insurance paid restitution and -- since my insurance paid nothing -- my rates remain the same.

I guess the short version is: Horns are good at saying, "Look at me!", but horns don't improve how others drive.

Re:honking saved me gobs of $$$ (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 9 years ago | (#8389882)

king at least gives some indication to the cars behind you that YOU aren't the one tying things up

Good point.

and *might* annoy the chatters enough to bring their conversation to an end ... but I'm reluctant to use the horn for those reasons. First, it adds to rudeness, and second, I expect drivers with that level of arrogance to be the most likely to shoot honkers.

Bingo! ...

Thanx for the story.

Horns are good at saying, "Look at me!", but horns don't improve how others drive.

Agreed. Though, if just for a friendly hello, i'd prefer a softer tone.

For Whom the Horn Honks (1)

superyooser (100462) | more than 9 years ago | (#8389509)

I had to come to the same conclusion as yours: that we need more than one kind of horn. A lot of times it's used just in a friendly way to get a friend's attention in the other lane so you can wave to them. We need a "friendly" horn, a "move!" horn, a "watch out" horn, and maybe a few others. Right now, the horn is like a dog's bark. Bark (I'm hungry), bark (ooh female dog), bark (stranger entering!), bark (it's hot), bark (it's cold), etc. What are you trying to say?

Another major problem is that there's no way to direct your horn to the right recipient. The sound is broadcasted to everyone within a certain radius. Nobody can tell who honked or who is being honked at. It's a very primitive, blunt tool. Ideally, we should all have voice-based wi-fi devices so we could direct messages to a particular car. I'm not sure how that would work, but it's time for some innovation in the car-to-car communication area. The downside: drive-by spam.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...