The horn is often used to express a motorist’s anger, frustration, or impatience. However, it’s intended function is to act as a warning device. When used inappropriately, it can trigger road rage or even startle someone into getting into an accident. Aggressive use of the horn isn’t just rude behavior, it’s dangerous because the person on the receiving end is a complete stranger. One has no idea of his or her emotional stability.
When To Use Your Horn
- When a pedestrian or bicyclist is about to go in front of your moving car. If the danger is imminent, then a full horn blast is necessary. Otherwise, use a light tap of the horn to remind them of your presence. The exception is when they have the right of way such as at a cross walk. In this case, you must stop.
- When a motorist is about to pull in front of you and isn’t looking. Again, a light tap is all that’s necessary unless there is imminent danger.
- When your visibility is restricted, use a light tap of the horn. Examples include exiting a blind driveway or crossing a single lane covered bridge.
- When there is danger of collision with another vehicle, use a full horn blast. This applies when another car looks as though it’s about to hit you, or when you’ve lost control of your car and are in danger of hitting someone else.
- Use a light horn tap when the vehicle you are overtaking is turning into your lane. This often happens when drivers don’t look or fail to check their blind spots.
When Not To Use Your Horn
- To say hello to a friend. This can startle or anger other motorists.
- To chastise a motorist for making a driving mistake. Never use the horn to vent your emotions, get even, or teach a lesson.
- To pressure a motorist to move out of your way or to speed up.
- When a blind pedestrian is present. Serious injury may result if the horn causes the person to panic.
- Around a mounted horse or horse-drawn vehicle. Honking your horn or passing too close may panic the horse.
The automobile horn is meant to be a warning device. Use it only when it’s appropriate: to prevent an accident or injury when the other party doesn’t see you.