Horns – don’t take then personally 

Posted on February 17th, 2016 by James Luckhurst


Have you ever met the perfect driver? No? Neither have I.  Mistakes do happen and, if we’re lucky, we can learn something from them. But let’s be honest with ourselves; no one wants to make a mistake and most of us dislike being told when we do make a mistake. Driving takes the ability to swallow your pride if you do make a mistake. But out of interest, how do you take it when someone toots you because you’ve made a mistake?  

If you’re a regular visitor to this page, you’ll know we enjoy following the thoughts of Scott Marshall, of Young Driver of Canada. Scott was recently out for a walk, he saw a vehicle approaching in his direction, that was straddling the lanes. The driver’s side wheels were across the lane markings, a little too close to traffic in the next lane. It was a few seconds later that another driver tapped the horn to get this gentleman’s attention to move back into the correct lane. The reply of the driver straddling the lane – he honked back…and a few times at that. I guess he took offence at the horn honking.”  

Sounding the horn doesn’t always have to be negative, does it? In this case, it was more like; ”Excuse me, but you’re partially in my lane and I would like to get by.” In which case the correct response could have been; “Oops, okay.” as the driver fully returned to his own lane. “Being corrected after a mistake is normal and part of life,” adds Scott. “Accept it and move on.”  Scott remembers driving down a busy street with one lane in each direction, but with parked vehicles at the side of the road in both directions. “As I came up to one area, a pedestrian was walking toward my path from between the parked vehicles not looking in my direction. I tapped my horn to get his attention and he flipped me off and yelled obscenities at me. Why? Was his intention to walk directly in my path to get struck by my vehicle? I doubt it.”  

We seem to have taken a negative approach to horn use. A light tap of the horn has been deemed a “friendly” form of hooting, yet some drivers still take offence at it. As Scott Marshall would say to his kids; “Suck it up, buttercup, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a friendly reminder to pay more attention to what you’re doing so you don’t get injured or killed.”  

Now, when you are annoyed, I’m sure you’ve leant on the horn long and loud.  You really wanted to let that other person know you were really annoyed with what they did. How do you feel after hooting? Better? Good, but you need to let go of that situation and stay focussed on the driving task. If not, you may be the one getting hooted next. If so, how would you take it?