I came across this article today, which I thought was quite interesting: http://www.slate.com/id/2204988 It's about how the world is riddled with car horn misuse. For instance, in some big cities around the world, people hardly ever stop honking and the noise can be dangerous as well as disturbing. The article talks about how some cities have effectively banned honking at certain times of day or even altogether. The rationale is that honking the car horn takes the responsibility away from the person doing the honking. If they spot an accident about to happen and honk, instead of slowing down/changing lanes/etc., they feel that they have done their part to avoid the accident. But if car horn use was restricted, or horns were non-existent, everyone would have to learn how to drive more carefully.
Anyway, this reminded me of two things. One, my driver's ed teacher in high school told us once that the car horn did not have to be used solely as an emergency or road rage tool. If I remember correctly, he told us that, "Sometimes it's nice to just give a little toot to say hello to other drivers." I've never actually tested this theory, because I'm afraid of getting the bird.
The other thing the article reminded me of is a game my grandpa and I used to play while driving places. Just a warning before you read any further: the rest of this post is kind of ridiculous, but it makes me smile. We could be on our way to anywhere, but if we had to go through a part of town where there weren't many houses, we played this game: if we saw anyone outside their house doing anything, we'd honk and wave. The goal was to see how many people would wave back. We didn't know them, they didn't know us, but a lot of people waved back at us. Sometimes they didn't even look at who was honking, they'd just throw their arm up and go back to whatever they were doing. By the way, my grandma and anyone else riding with us thought this game was totally obnoxious. My grandpa and I always maintained that we were just being friendly drivers.
So maybe car horns are useless...
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