Blog: Why hooter-happy motorists give me the pip
09:55 20 December 2015
Why do some motorists use car horns as an electronic expletive, blasting other road-users for the slightest mistake or delay.
Tackling a notoriously difficult roundabout, where no one seems to indicate, I felt sorry for a driver who pulled out in front of another car entering the roundabout from the junction to the right.
Perhaps the first driver should have waited, although running it through my head, I would have gone for it, judging the gap to be safe. Maybe the other car should have been going slower given the hazards of the roundabout.
Either way, the result was the driver of the latter car slammed a hand on the hooter and held it there but did not seem to have to brake hard. The other driver was spooked and braked and it nearly ended up in a collision.
I suspect if the driver who hooted had been travelling slower, lifting off the throttle or a dab on the brakes would have been all that was needed to provided safe passage for both cars.
A couple of days later my wife was indicating to filter into the right-hand lane at a junction with a continuous stream of traffic which had right of way coming down a hill. She waited patiently, looking for a safe gap but after no more than 10 seconds the car behind honked the horn for her to hurry up. For two hoots I felt like getting out and asking if they could see the invisible gap in the traffic my wife was missing but that would have made me as aggressive as them and, like their hooting, would serve no purpose.
And then you get those people who like to toot and wave at someone they know driving the other way or walking along the pavement.
Rule 112 of the Highway Code says you should use the horn only while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence. Never sound your horn aggressively. You must not use your horn while stationary on the road or when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30pm and 7am – except when another road user poses a danger.
So you use the horn as a warning – not a reprimand, a hurry-up prompt or a greeting.
The danger of so many people all too willing to hoot for the wrong reasons is that, like those annoying car or burglar alarms going off, you dismiss it and not react when it really is a warning.
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