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Archive for June, 2013

No horns

Here I argue that horns in passenger vehicles do more harm than good

I have had a drivers license for a little over 20 years, and I cannot recall one time every using a horn to prevent an accident.  I’ve only used the horn at all a few times, and it was all for social reasons.

I have seen a few situations where a horn probably did prevent a small accident.  For example, someone is starting to back up into a car in a parking lot, and another driver alerts him/her by honking.

I am very skeptical about whether horns prevent any major accidents.  In the time it takes for someone to honk their horn, and for someone else to react, you would have had time to hit your brakes or steer out of the way.   I suppose one exception is if someone is driving the wrong way down a one-way street, and another driver alerts him/her by honking.   I suspect only a small percentage of those situations would result in a serious accident.

Horns cause an enormous amount of harm, however.  I’d guess at least once a week I am startled by a horn.  In a typical scenario I’m walking home or to work and am deep in thought.  Suddenly a driver honks at someone for some petty reason, and abruptly interrupts my thoughts.  This is extremely rude and aggravating. I have been robbed of peace, and my train of thought is likely gone forever. If it happens to most people at least once a week, that is an enormous amount of harm.   In fact, I’d trade one small parking lot fender-bender a year in exchange for never hearing that sound again.

Further, horn honking probably increases the aggressiveness of drivers and leads to road range.  I know that if someone honks at me when I’m driving, I become very annoyed.  I start to feel aggressive, even though I’m generally quite a passive, peaceful person.  This could easily lead to accidents or other incidents.

While I have no data to back me up, I believe that horns do more harm than good, and should cease to exist.

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