It pisses me off so much when people use their car horns to signify anger. Acceptable reasons, in my opinion, to use a horn include:
1) Someone is in danger and you want to warn them.
2) You need someone to move and they are not aware of this.
Even #2 is a soft call, but I honestly don't mind so much if I'm, say, at a light and the person behind me honks to get me to move forward a foot so they can slip by to make a right turn. That's fine. Or if I zone out and the light changes... I don't love being honked at, but I can understand it and feel it serves a purpose. I've done it before and I try to honk very gently so they know I'm not angry.
But when someone does something you don't like and you honk just to show them you're pissed off when you're not in any danger of hitting them? That really stinks. And I feel like it makes people less likely to respect horns when they really need to be respected.
I don't know about respecting horns... if cars are moving and I hear a horn, I assume that it's a warning thing. If cars are moving very slowly or are completely stopped then I assume it's a honk of frustration. I guess that fits into what you're saying, though: I'm not respecting horns in slow-moving traffic.ReplyDelete
And you're right that many people seem to perceive the horn as being done in anger than as an alert. Knowing that, I prefer not to use the horn if someone doesn't realize that a light has turned green. I flash them instead (with my headlights). My hope is that it's less aggravating, but I don't know...
I will admit that I honked at a person out of anger once. There was heavy traffic due to a lane closure, with two lanes merging into one while accepting cars from two on-ramps. I was following the zipper formation, which I thought was common courtesy for drivers to follow: one car from the closed lane shifts in front of a car in the opened lane, and the next car from the closed lane goes behind that car in the opened lane, and the process repeats. Well, many cars had zippered in front of me by this point, when two cars come zooming up in the lane that is about to be closed. Signs indicating "lane closure - merge now" were put up about two miles before this closure point, so you know that these guys were blatantly ignoring them and were trying to cut ahead of everyone else. I've seen people shun behavior like that by closing gaps so that it's impossible to shift lanes, but I was gracious: I opened a gap so that one guy could shift, and figured that the guy behind him would follow zipper protocol and get behind me. Instead, the second guy began edging me out, forcing his way in front of me. It's rude behavior, I was tired, and I wanted to let this guy know that he was doing a jerk thing, so I honked.
He honked back.
It was so on.
I honked back and tried to close the gap. He honked again and further edged in front of me. It ended with him getting in front of me anyway. My wife was mortified and told me not to do that again, but allow me to say that even if the guy got away with his rude behavior, horn-wise I did have the last word. If he didn't know it before, he now knows that sort of behavior angers people, too. Maybe the world will be a slightly better place for it.
In all seriousness, you have a good point. On the other hand, if people have to take out anger and frustration I'd prefer that they do it with the horn. I've seen some very dangerous behavior at high speeds - things like getting in front of someone and slamming on the brakes, or deliberately adjusting speed to prevent lane shifting. A horn may frazzle some nerves, but at least there's no risk of causing a crash. I can't say the same for the other behaviors.
(The best would be if people would just chill out. I'm looking forward to driverless cars.)
I really hate it when people skip their turn in a merge and try to get ahead. There's an annoying merge on my drive home where sometimes someone will zip ahead just to get in front of one car. I'm always thinking, "Was it really worth almost crashing to get to your destination half a second earlier?"Delete
And yes, i hate that highway behavior. I never do it, but I was in a car with a friend who got pissed off that someone cut him off and he wanted to get in front of him and make him brake. I was like, "Let it go!"
I'll be the first dissenter! When I moved to the big city I live in now, I wasn't used to all the traffic and tricky merges, and I used to just use my mirrors without actually turning my head. There were a few times when I accidentally cut someone off in a merge(and maybe would have hit them if they hadn't stepped on the brakes), and if they hadn't honked at me afterwards, I probably wouldn't have noticed what happened, since there were never any actual crashes. And if I hadn't learned to shape up from those honks, I would still have dangerous driving habits. So I think a third acceptable reason to honk is to say, "Hey, you just did something rude/dangerous and that's not ok."ReplyDelete
Of course, that makes the assumption that when someone is honked at, they'll wonder what they did wrong instead of just getting angry back and assuming the honker is just some jerk.
Fair enough... if someone did something so dangerous that you almost hit them, I think it's reasonable to honk. As long as it's not done in anger.Delete
Eh, I laid on the horn last week when some fine upstanding person decided to just merge into my lane and almost hit me. Even my kids commented they were scared. I was in danger but I honked because I was mad.ReplyDelete
I honk at blatant red-light runners who are perpendicular to me. there is an intersection near my house that is particularly bad, and I like to think I'm teaching them a lesson. I'm probably not, but there have been accidents there and I am talking about blatant speeding through the intersection when my light turned green several seconds ago.ReplyDelete
Is a honk really a "punishment" though?Delete
Maybe "shaming" is a more appropriate word than punishment, and probably not to these people. But I would be pretty upset/ashamed if someone honked at me to point out my error, so to me it is.Delete
I feel as you do, that horns are rude and should be used sparingly. But sometimes one can carry that too far. I was car 4 in a bank drive-up lane and for literally 20 minutes, the line had not moved. And none of us honked, by the way. I then saw the man in car 2 get out of his car, walk up to the driver at the window, say something and then get back in his car, at which point the driver at the window pulled away and the line moved. When I got to the window, I asked the teller what the holdup had been. She told me that the person at the window was very elderly and had fallen asleep! What appalled me was that the teller just let her sleep and we all cooled our heels like idiots, politely NOT honking. The man getting out of his car had apparently suspected something of the sort and had woken her up, thank goodness or we'd all still be sitting there.ReplyDelete
*Gaaaasp* Dr. Fizzy, did I honk at you? :-)ReplyDelete
Seriously. I honked at someone the day before you wrote this....coincidence? I think not!(I did, but doubt it was you!). Anyway, honked loudly and angrily - but it was at a car pulling out in front of me, without looking my way, and then blocking traffic. (It was a very, very busy parking lot.) The initial honk was just to let her know that there was oncoming traffic....but I might have lingered on the horn a tad longer to let her know she was now sitting 90 degrees to the flow. That's the first time I've used the horn.
Hahahahahaha, Fizzy - come to India!! Honks are friendly conversations between cars there!! :)ReplyDelete