List: Why Do People Honk

There’s a simple mantra that I use to avoid honking while driving. It is to assume and believe that everyone on the road at a given point of time is eager to reach their destination. No one – especially the ones in front of you – is voluntarily trying to delay their movement. It’s just that one of many external factors is influencing them at that specific point of time, be it a bratty auto-rickshaw driver or an illegally parked car or pedestrian traffic or a lost member of a bovine family (who apparently are safer in India). The mantra is basically about exercising self-control and is a trait that I think should be mandated by Regional Transport Offices (RTO) across the country as part of the tests for obtaining licence. Along with the reintroduction of and when to use indicators.

But it’s not an ideal world we live in. And self-control is not easy to master, particularly in Mumbai traffic. So, here’s a hypothetical list of reasons why I think people (in India) honk while on the road. Some of these may sound ridiculous but I assure you they are based on my own experiences ever since I got myself a driving licence in 2014.

People in India blow their vehicle’s horn while on the road because…

  • The button is right there in front of them
  • When they learned driving/riding, it was taught to them that honking has properties similar to that of nitrous oxide
  • They think the person/vehicle blocking their way is trying to settle down at that particular place on the highway/road
  • Of muscle memory
  • Telling a person to do something by irritating them almost always gets the job done unless you are in Gurugram. There, you just get shot
  • It’s a privilege
  • It is easier than exercising patience
  • The person behind is doing it too and they can’t let the chain break or else seven years of curse. Duh!
  • Everyone does it
  • They have a fancy/loud horn
  • It makes them look important/busy
  • They have nothing better to do (because the person on the other side of the phone call they are on just does not shut up)
  • The green light is just 30 seconds away
  • They think they own the road

There are more but I don’t want to extend this list because I think I have driven the point home.

One day I will invest in a startup that makes horn-less vehicles. And the day the startup becomes profitable is when I will retire this list from my website. Till then let us all exercise patience while driving and riding. TN.

PS – I recently also created two similar lists here (about seat belts) and here (about helmets). Thank you.

Featured Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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LavanyaTejas Nairhugh-mungus Recent comment authors
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hugh-mungus
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hugh-mungus

Mostly muscle memory, I think. It’s one of those instinctive things, really, like standing right near the elevator doors on landing and trying to cram in before the people in the elevator can get out. I noticed myself doing this until a few months ago and it was so embarrassing. I consciously remind myself not to do this every time now and every time, I have to remember to actually tell myself to not fall into that old bad habit.

I don’t think anyone actually expects honking to help ever. It’s just a reflex action at this point because we’ve never known better. Or frustration. It could just be people in a hurry or maybe they’re just upset because life is boring or the roads are crammed or they’re late or goddammit Shrutika can you not make it so difficult for me to like you you silly sulky metalhead can we not keep fighting like this.

So yeah, mostly just habit and impatience.

Also, on an unrelated note, how’d you build your site? I was trying to reply to your reply to my comment on another post but couldn’t so I was wondering if you’re using a WordPress template or have build the whole thing from scratch yourself or what.

Lavanya
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Lavanya

So true. I only ever use a horn when any pedestrian is blocking the road and has space to walk on the side lane. The most irritating ones are especially the ones who honk while struck in traffic. Like ‘Dude, the guy in front of you can’t do anything in this scenario. At least use your brain cells.’ And don’t even get me started on the auto rickshaw guys. They are the absolute worst.

  • about me

    Tejas Nair is a copywriter based in Mumbai, India. He writes about cinema, literature, current affairs, culture, and society. He manages search-based digital campaigns for Publicis. more »