Are you a horn-honker? If you honk your horn at cars that don’t move when the signal changes or at pedestrians who step off the curb without looking, you’re definitely not alone.
But know this: Your car horn won’t help you avoid an accident.
Henry Ford slapped a bulb-and-trumpet horn on the very first Model T. It was designed to warn horses that a car was coming – but more often it simply scared the horses into bucking and running. And some researchers say things haven’t changed.
In fact, experts believe car horns actually cause more collisions that they prevent. The Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators found that during an emergency, it takes 2 to 3 times longer to honk than it does to steer or brake. Researchers also found that in the hundreds of accidents they studied, nobody was able to honk and steer at the same time. And when a horn was used, half of the time it was used in anger after the collision. The rest of the time it basically announced, “Look out, I’m going to hit you!”
And even though honking won’t help you avoid an accident, it’s incredibly common. Horn-honking has also been equated with aggressive driving practices.
Studies show that people honk more when it’s hot than when it’s cold, more on workdays than on weekends and more often in the city than in the country. And men – who tend to be more aggressive - are more likely to honk than women.
So, forget about all the honking and just drive more safely and courteously to begin with.