If I could go back in time and change history, I would travel back and kill every single person that was involved with developing car horns. I don’t know if you know this but car horns have gotten progressively louder over the decades. Sound dampening advancements in automobiles have reduced exterior noise so that car horns now have to be even louder in order to be heard. There are also more cars on the road today than ever before and countless pedestrians to watch out for. So, instead of improving public transportation or creating self driving automobiles, we just went with louder horns.
This would not be a problem if horns could be used properly but, since just about anybody can get a license, the concept of “honking” immediately spins into chaos when put into practice. When a person holds their horn down they aren’t saying, “Careful, friend, I’m in your blind spot and just want you to know that I’m here so that we can both remain happy and safe!” They are saying that they’ve decided they are more important than everyone else on the road and that you are human garbage.
This has gotten to be such a problem in Manhattan that they’ve employed a fine for honking in certain high traffic areas. Granted, I am not convinced that people are normally supposed to live in as close proximity as they do in New York. In most places people choose to live, the honk will not endlessly echo and amplify off the tall buildings until everyone of a weaker mental fortitude is left in a screaming heap upon the sidewalk. But this does not make the noise any less grating in other parts of the globe. No matter where you are, the prolonged honk almost always heralds in arrogant stupidity. I bet scientists could correlate poor driving habits with how often someone uses the horn.
There would definitely be outliers though. I passionately hate cab drivers because they absolutely refuse to adhere to any standard of driving safety or courtesy. Anytime I’m on my motorcycle, there is a pretty good chance I’ll have to avoid being killed by one. They pull out in front of you, cut you off, use multiple lanes, never signal, slam on the breaks directly in front of you and then accelerate as quickly as possible through a red light. However they are the only people I know that routinely use horns for their intended purpose. Horns are for alerting pedestrians wandering around in the street that you are about to crush them and for letting someone know that you are in their blind spot.
The long sustained honk is pointless because it doesn’t offer any extra information. It just conveys that the driver is in an agitated state while upsetting everyone else. I don’t know if you’ve ever been cursed out by someone in a foreign language, but it feels exactly the same way. You have no idea what the person is trying to tell you but you but the deepest and most primal part of you needs them to stop. Anytime someone yells at me in a language I don’t understand the first thought that runs through my mind is “If I crushed their windpipe, I bet that noise would stop.”
There are polite ways to honk the horn. One or two short taps suffice for almost all situations. It almost sounds cheerful. The sheer relief of hearing it end abruptly could probably be considered a form of emotional therapy. It’s a shame people are so unwilling to cut each other a break that any observable civility seems downright incredible to us all. Long-winded honks are just the tip of the iceberg. We live in a society of bewildering entitlement. So many people feel like the world owes them something when, in reality, success never goes anywhere without failure. Honk and frown all you want, it isn’t going to make traffic move any faster or your children love you. It won’t garner you any extra respect or help you achieve your dreams. All it does is help to contribute to all of the problems with society that are beating you down in the first place. We shouldn’t be sitting in our cars honking at each other, we should be setting those cars on fire and pushing them into banks and office buildings.