Car horns, the new killing machine!



Recently on an interstate highway, a car was drifting into another lane in heavy traffic so a very helpful driver in back tooted her horn. The driver of the drifting car sped up ahead and then laid in wait until the honker was driving in the next lane.  He shot into her car. She wasn’t hurt but certainly shook up. (This is a true story.)

When did we move from giving someone the finger or yelling obscenities to killing them for perceived slight transgressions?

They even have a name for it. They call it road rage.

Today on my way home from my morning Starbucks run, a car which had pulled over to the side for some reason pulled out in front of me.

Right in front of me! I almost hit it! I had to brake…hard!

There was no one in back of me. In fact there were no other cars on the road, so I can’t figure out why he needed to be in front of me. He made a right turn 30 feet down the road! Slowly, very slowly!

If you pull out in front of me at least have the decency to put your pedal to the metal to get up to speed but not him. He chugged along. My coffee almost spilled! That, of course, is a mortal sin punishable by honking!

When I see a driver do something stupid…ummm…unusual…my first reaction is always to honk the horn. I don’t honk a nasty honk. It’s not a “hey stupid, what are you doing?” or a “listen jerk, doncha know how to drive” kind of honk. Nothing with symbols like “@#&% off” or the beloved husband’s favorite “@#eeping idiot.” It’s more like a “hey, I’m here, didn’t you see me” honk. Or maybe an “I know you are pressed for time and need to text right now, but could you go, the light is green” kind of honk. Always polite. That’s me (mostly, ok not mostly, but sometimes polite).

Unfortunately, horns don’t have tones. They don’t say whether the honker is being helpful (that would be me) or is really annoyed or is a jerk. Somehow we need to work that into the new cars.

Instead of horn noise, they could use a voice. You know, like car security systems. There are times when I am in a parking lot walking by a car and it says, “step away from this car!” Something similar to that but more polite since you never know who is packing heat these days.

Here are some suggestions for the text:

  • Hi Sweetie, I know you are having a bad day but could you move your ass end over so I can get by?
  • I know it’s hard to get your make-up on BEFORE you get into the car, but could you please go. The light turned green 5 minutes ago and honey another swipe at those lashes won’t make you any prettier?
  • I am so sorry I can’t go any faster but you see there is a line of cars in front of me that determines the speed I can drive.

Or perhaps my favorite:

  • Listen bucko! I just paid an outrageous amount for my mocha latte. Stop driving stupid so it doesn’t spill!

You are invited to give other suggestions. I will package them all and send these ideas to the car manufacturers.  Then I will wait for my big fat check.

27 thoughts on “Car horns, the new killing machine!

  1. So appreciate the slice of Life…my personal favorite is relying on a form of sign language when someone in traffic has ‘wronged’ me, I cross myself as if I were Catholic and bless them. The look of confusion on the face of the offender is worth the weight in rosary beads. Obtuse? Perhaps. But then again, I gotta be Me. Thanks again. I’m grinning. Dan


  2. I have often wished for something like a bull horn that would allow me to communicate with other drivers. Of course, in Los Angeles it would probably get me killed. Road rage is serious business here, enough so that we don’t even make eye contact with someone who rudely cuts us off.


  3. I hear ya’, Kate. It drives me crazy when I’m already exceeding the speed limit and some – I’m late! I’m late! for a very important date! – driver rides my bumper until I pull over. I have to smile when we eventually wind up going the same way and he’s no further ahead than I am.

    As for the scary drivers, watch Steve Martin in “L.A. Story.” Hilarious. I’ll never view the (Spring) Equinox the same way again.


  4. Good one! I have no solutions though. Mostly, I just grin and bear it or silently utter unmentionable words. I believe that road rage and a lot of other crimes are sparked by anonymity. Too many people are now faceless strangers, and especially faceless behind the wheel of a car


  5. Yes great idea. People are bored with just driving down the road and need something entertaining to do while driving – a menu of horn communications and tones would be so welcomed.
    How about “Look forward! Face the front. When you swivel your head right, the car goes right, too!”
    Maybe something for passing wrecks? “Please keep moving. Nothing for you to see here…yet…”


  6. Perhaps gradients of urgency:

    Beep. Beep. ~ um, excuse me, pardon me.
    BEEP!!! BEEP!!! ~ could you get out of my way . . . I’m in a rush.
    BLEEP!!! BLEEP!!! ~ you $%@^#$& idiot! Get some driving lessons!


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