Car-munication Part One – When to Honk?

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The art of communicating with your car is frankly a dying art; people can’t even be bothered with turn signals anymore, but it used to be the case that everyone used the lights on their vehicles to communicate with one another. It’s part of a lost art of driving, so here’s a refresher or lesson in the unwritten rules to car communication.

Short of ramming something with your car, your lights and horn are your main options for communicating with others while driving. The art of using your lights has changed as well with the modernization of the automobile, but there are still some modern methods that are perfectly usable today but for the loss of knowledge by drivers.

The horn (usually) is the most audible part of a car; it’s meant to be a loud alert to other drivers as a warning, and that is how most people are familiar with them. However, there are rules to how to use a horn that extend beyond immediate danger from that other car pulling into your lane.

– Starting with the friendly side of things, the short beep-beep is typically what one uses for a friendly “hi” or “goodbye.” It’s short and to the point.

– If you live in a city or place with alleys and sidewalks, a slightly longer double beep is common before you exit the alley – it’s a warning to any pedestrians that you’re coming through.

– Then there’s the polite single or double tap to let someone know the red light has turned green, or to look up from what they are doing and concentrate on driving.

– Once you get past short beeps, the horn becomes more aggressive. This is the horn drivers typically use, to express displeasure at another driver when they feel they have been wronged on the road and sadly is what is most common today.

– Lastly there’s the genuine warning honk – however long it takes to let someone know where you and your car are and that there’s danger that needs their attention.

One thing you should never do is use your horn to let someone inside a building know you have arrived. In this modern age of cell phones, either call them or get out of your car and go to the door.

So, how much of this did you already know? Anything you know of that wasn’t covered?

Beyond honks, there are the lights of a car… stay tuned for Part Two!

Images courtesy of PilotSi and tinkfist

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