In many instances, drivers experience road rage from something as simple as honking the horn.
Using it at the wrong place, at the wrong time and with the wrong driver and things can quickly turn into a scene you see in dashcam videos on YouTube.
But how else will you interact with others on the road? Your lights signal your intentions, but what is the signal for “Excuse me, the light is green, you should move?”
Here are a few guidelines on using your horn.
Short, polite honks only
First of all, avoid using your horn in long bursts.
Nowadays, doing so results in road rage primarily because people perceive long bursts of the horn as aggressive behavior – sort of like saying “Get out of my way!”
And let’s not forget, the grating noise of a horn can get annoying if it’s constantly ringing in your ears for more than five seconds, so don’t lay your hand on the horn for so long.
Use it in overtakes
Second, if you’re overtaking someone and you want to give them a light heads-up, do one or two quick bursts of the horn.
While not necessary, it prevents any chances of a sideswipe between the two of you, especially at high speeds on the expressways.
A gentle reminder
Another use for the horn would be, again, a short burst, if in case the driver in front of you has their attention elsewhere.
A light toot to get their attention is OK and generally seen as a courteous gesture – generally meaning sometimes, the driver can take offense and it turns into a road-rage incident.
To avoid that, give the driver ahead a five-second gap to start moving. This gives them time to put their attention back on the road and it spares you the risk of having to honk your horn at a motorist who woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
Don’t be pushy
If these are the appropriate instances, an inappropriate one would be to honk to signal to your passengers that you’re waiting, for example.
The classic movie scene where the driver is sitting in their car and uses the horn to call the attention of their passengers is not only cliche, it’s very rude towards your passengers and even their neighbors.
Don’t rush pedestrians
Another inappropriate way to use it is on pedestrians trying to cross the street.
Unless there’s a light keeping people from crossing the street, pedestrians will always have the right of way at crosswalks under the law.
Generally speaking, if you use your horn politely, people will not take offense.
But if you decide to be rude, impolite and, overall, a horrible person towards others, then maybe don’t be surprised if someone doesn’t want to give you any quarter.
Source: Beep-beep! What are the right and wrong ways to use your horn?