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5 Inappropriate Ways You Shouldn’t Use a Car Horn

06 Nov

5 Inappropriate Ways You Shouldn’t Use a Car Horn

When people learn how to drive, not much attention is paid to the rules behind horn-honking. There’s usually a quick explanation of what horns do, and drivers are expected to figure things out eventually.  The problem with this approach is that car horns are sensitive safety features.  Using them impulsively can actually create hazards on the highway. Automotive Expert Lorraine Sommerfeld suggests that “Cars are required by law to have horns, and horns should only be used to warn other people of unsafe situations. Drivers are not supposed to use car horns out of rage or frustration.” Here are a few tips on proper horn etiquette:

1.    DON’T Use Horns to Announce Your Arrival:

               We’ve all been there.  You’re meeting up with someone, you’re parked right outside, so why not send a quick honk to let them know you’re ready to go?  While it might seem convenient to announce yourself with a car horn, the polite thing to do is call or text.  Horns make unnecessary noise, and attract everyone’s attention.  Including people who have nothing to do with your planned trip.

2.    DON’T Use Horns to Tell-Off People:

               Even though it’s common knowledge that horns should be used to signal danger, it’s often the case that drivers use horns to condemn each other.  Especially when someone does something irritating like improper lane-changing or driving too slowly.  It might be satisfying to use horns as an anger-management tool, but it also causes a spectacle and confuses other drivers who are minding their own business.

3.    DON’T Use Horns as a Greeting:

               Sometimes when drivers have chance encounters in traffic, they rush to say hello by honking horns.  Unfortunately, this is probably the most opposite reason why anyone should use a car horn.  If there’s no emergency, then it’s best to save the hellos for a more convenient environment.  There’s too much going on in traffic for anyone to stop concentrating on the road.

4.    DON’T Use Horns to Intimidate Cyclists:

               Sharing the road with cyclists isn’t always uneventful.  Sometimes cyclists maneuver in ways which cause interference.  If this ever happens, be careful about using horns to alert them.  Cyclists have a higher chance of accidentally falling into moving traffic when startled by horns.

5.    DON’T Use Horns to Warn Horses:

               Horses might seem like relatively calm animals, but they’re actually jittery.  They can easily start to stampede if they see or hear anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.  This is why it’s best to let horses do their thing whenever they walk on the street.  Scaring them with horns can provoke them into galloping towards your vehicle, instead of away from it.


               If you intend to use a horn, make sure you’re using it in a way that enhances traffic safety.  The fact that drivers can communicate with each other using car horns, doesn’t give people the right to abuse their purpose.  Never use a car horn to vent emotions, or convey nonessential messages.  It’s important to remember that loud noises can scare unsuspecting people.  And the last thing anyone needs to do in traffic is cause a panic. For more information, visit our website or give us a call at 1-800-639-7654 to find out how Adriana’s Insurance Services can help you stay safe. We got you covered!