Car horns

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Davidy
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Car horns

Postby Davidy » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:46 pm UTC

Quote taken from a different forum:

Crosshair wrote: Car horns have plenty of legitimate uses.


I can only think of THREE valid, legitimate uses of a car horn (and there are other valid actions available for each) - if you're stopped at a light and you want to alert the car in front of you that he's drifting back towards you. Or you've driven into a ravine and you're signaling rescurers where you are. Or you're coming down a hill and you're warning others that you have lost your brakes. And even those happen so infrequently that I think manufacturers could just eliminate the horn altogether and save a few hundred dollars per car.

Every other use of the horn is simply to call attention to how self-important and obnoxious the driver is, e.g., "How DARE you try to come into MY lane!"; "I'm in your driveway, don't expect me to get out and come and knock on your door."; "HEY! The light''s been green for 3 seconds and I've got things to do!" "Don't you dare step into that crosswalk, I don't want to wear out my brakes stopping for you!"; "Hey fool, get out of my way. The speed limit's 45; that means I can go 55.",

Or to let you know that something happened or is about to happen that neither you nor I can do anything about now, e.g., "You pulled out in front of me and I'm going too fast to avoid you so I'm going to hit you."; "You idiot, you just cut me off!"; "This back-up must be a mile long. Maybe blowing my horn will get it moving."

Then there's the simply obnoxious announcement that something happened that nobody, other than you, cares a whit about - "I just graduated from high school."; "We just got married."; "My favorite ball team just won a game."

-End of rant-
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Re: Car horns

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:01 pm UTC

There's a rant thread.

The usual legitimate use of a car horn is to warn people you're there. For example, you're going over one of those tiny humpback bridges on a country lane, you can't see the other side and it only has enough width for one car at a time, so you beep the horn to let anyone on the other side know you're coming. You know, just in case there is someone there.

I'm pretty sure a car's horn legally has to be there in most countries, so car manufacturers aren't going to remove them.
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Re: Car horns

Postby DSenette » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:27 pm UTC

Davidy wrote: And even those happen so infrequently that I think manufacturers could just eliminate the horn altogether and save a few hundred dollars per car.
considering i can purchase a replacement OEM horn for my truck for $15 or less.....i think this is a gross over estimation of the cost of a horn. even including factory labor you're nowhere near several hundred dollars to install a horn in a car.
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Re: Car horns

Postby maninblack » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:33 pm UTC

I live in a rural area, and see more than my fair share of whitetail deer on my commute. I use the horn if I see a deer in the road that is not moving. Impatient? Maybe. Effective? Usually.

Also, aside from the reasons you've suggested there are other uses for your horn. Tho' they fall under the broader scope of alerting others to your presence, but I'm with SlyReaper:

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Re: Car horns

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:40 pm UTC

What I think is really needed is multiple kinds of horns per vehicle.

The horn is about the only form of intervehicular communication we have right now, and its vocabulary is limited to "HEY!!!" It would be very nice if there was at least an "*ahem*" option as well; some sort of quieter, more polite 'beep-beep' sound, rather than the loud and brash 'HOOOOONK' that's all we've got now. Perhaps accompany it by a brief flash of the headlights so people can see which car is politely requesting their attention. I can think of many better uses for that, most of them basically equivalent to "pardon me...": "...the light has changed", "...may I merge into this lane please?", etc.
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Re: Car horns

Postby DSenette » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:43 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:What I think is really needed is multiple kinds of horns per vehicle.

The horn is about the only form of intervehicular communication we have right now, and its vocabulary is limited to "HEY!!!" It would be very nice if there was at least an "*ahem*" option as well; some sort of quieter, more polite 'beep-beep' sound, rather than the loud and brash 'HOOOOONK' that's all we've got now. Perhaps accompany it by a brief flash of the headlights so people can see which car is politely requesting their attention. I can think of many better uses for that, most of them basically equivalent to "pardon me...": "...the light has changed", "...may I merge into this lane please?", etc.

replace all horns with PA systems?
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Re: Car horns

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:51 pm UTC

Well, you can sort of tap the horn for a more polite 'beep', or lean on it for an angry 'hooooonk'.
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Re: Car horns

Postby Ptolom » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:40 pm UTC

CB radios installed in all vehicles, with lights to show who's talking.

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Re: Car horns

Postby Adam H » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:28 pm UTC

Don't underestimate the value of negative reinforcement. It's really easy for me to accidentally cut people off. I don't WANT to cut them off. I just underestimate their speed or distance. So if they tap on the horn, they let me know that they were too close and I should not have pulled out. And next time I pull out into traffic, I'll make sure there's more room. But if you don't tell me I screwed up, I won't know. I'll keep pulling out in front of people.

Also, if I'm stopped at a light and I look down to do something, and you are behind me, you better honk as soon as that light turns green. I have missed a green light because the person behind me thought he was being polite by not letting me know the light turned green.

(Sure, I'm a horrible driver. But that's not the point. :P )

So I follow the golden rule, and honk whenever I'd want to be honked at. The easily-offended assholes need to get over themselves. I bet they hold doors open for people 20 feet away too. Curse them!


Also, now that this has turned into a discussion, it belongs in it's own thread! Hooray for me, saving the day!
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Re: Car horns

Postby JudeMorrigan » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:25 pm UTC

I think the original poster is underestimating the value of the "Dude! I'm in your blind spot!" use of a car horn. It's saved me from more than one accident on both sides of the equation.

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Re: Car horns

Postby pseudoidiot » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:50 pm UTC

I'm occasionally on constructions sites for my jobs and more than one site has had a rule that before you start reversing in any vehicle (doesn't matter if it's a heavy truck, a scissor lift, or the vehicle you drove onto site with), you honk. Construction sites are busy, loud places and it's near-impossible to pay attention to everything around you. That simple honk lets anyone walking around (that you may not be aware of from the driver's seat) that you're about to start moving.

Do horns get used for a lot of asshole reasons? Yeah, but the safety uses far outweigh that as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Car horns

Postby Davidy » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:55 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:
Davidy wrote: And even those happen so infrequently that I think manufacturers could just eliminate the horn altogether and save a few hundred dollars per car.
considering i can purchase a replacement OEM horn for my truck for $15 or less.....i think this is a gross over estimation of the cost of a horn. even including factory labor you're nowhere near several hundred dollars to install a horn in a car.

You're talking about the (probably Chinese made) horn itself. I meant the entire system - contacts in the steering wheel, wiring, relays, nuts/bolts/mounts, plus the physical horns too. I'm positive that, even without the dealer's markup, you'd pay a few hundred for these components if you tried to buy them.
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Re: Car horns

Postby Davidy » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:05 pm UTC

maninblack wrote:I live in a rural area, and see more than my fair share of whitetail deer on my commute. I use the horn if I see a deer in the road that is not moving. Impatient? Maybe. Effective? Usually.


I live in a semi rural area and my experience with road fauna is limited to horses, cows and deer. I can't think of a time that any of these creatures moved at the urging of a horn. They usually just stand there and get hit, or, if you manage to stop before that, they just saunter off when they're good and ready to.
Last edited by Davidy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:11 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Car horns

Postby Davidy » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:10 pm UTC

pseudoidiot wrote:I'm occasionally on constructions sites for my jobs and more than one site has had a rule that before you start reversing in any vehicle (doesn't matter if it's a heavy truck, a scissor lift, or the vehicle you drove onto site with), you honk. Construction sites are busy, loud places and it's near-impossible to pay attention to everything around you. That simple honk lets anyone walking around (that you may not be aware of from the driver's seat) that you're about to start

Every construction-type vehicle that I know of is required to have one of those peep-peep-peep-peep backup alarms. I don't see how a car horn itself is a signal that one is about to back up.

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Re: Car horns

Postby pseudoidiot » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:32 pm UTC

Because that was the rules of the construction site and since everyone was required to sit through safety training, everyone knew that.

And in this case, I'm willing to defer completely to the rules of the company whose job it is to keep the site safe.
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Re: Car horns

Postby Weeks » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:55 pm UTC

One of the reasons I dislike traveling in urban areas is the excessive use and loudness of horns (and other sources of noise) but that is not strictly a problem with horns (there wouldn't be cars with large audio systems otherwise) and the safety issues addressed by them mean you're gonna have to come up with a better solution than "get rid of horns".

Especially if you have ones like these

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Re: Car horns

Postby mathmannix » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:02 pm UTC

To quote Dave Barry,

The driver was also careful to observe the strict New York City Vehicle Horn Code, under which it is illegal to honk your horn except to communicate one of the following emergency messages:
1. The light is green.
2. The light is red.
3. I hate you.
4. This vehicle is equipped with a horn.


Seriously, though, when I was a kid (roughly 25 years ago), I imagined every car in the future (it's now, right?) would have a small, electronic interactive satellite-using map that showed your car's position on it - so far, this is what I have in my car now! - and also the position of every other car, with the ability to contact nearby cars by radio. Seriously, I still think this would be a good idea. Also an imporant step to having driverless cars.

Edit: For the record, I also thought that cars would have 78-RPM record players in them by now.
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Re: Car horns

Postby Eseell » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:16 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Seriously, though, when I was a kid (roughly 25 years ago), I imagined every car in the future (it's now, right?) would have a small, electronic interactive satellite-using map that showed your car's position on it - so far, this is what I have in my car now! - and also the position of every other car, with the ability to contact nearby cars by radio. Seriously, I still think this would be a good idea. Also an imporant step to having driverless cars.

That's coming. Give it five years. I think it was Popular Mechanics that also had a good article on automotive machine-to-machine communication recently. No link because I read it in the dead tree edition.

Anyway, another vote for the "I'm in your blind spot!" function of horns. It's a place that I generally try to avoid being, but I will absolutely honk at someone who tries to merge too aggressively. I don't care if that makes me an asshole; I prefer that to being in a car accident.
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Re: Car horns

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:44 pm UTC

I have never used my car horn (but have only been driving about 9 months), but I think I'd be most likely to use it in the "you can't see me, but I'm here" sense.

Just for tangentially related info, I thought I'd also post some stuff about using horns at sea (where their use is much more specified):

1 blast: I am turning to starboard
1 long blast: just to let anyone who can't see me know that I'm here (mainly used by big ships leaving ports with harbour walls, rounding bends in rivers or in fog)
2 blasts: I am turning to port
3 blasts: my engines are astern (basically I'm in reverse gear, but may still be going forwards)
5 blasts: "make your intentions clear" or as it's actually used "what the frak are you doing?!"
6 blasts: only used by very big boats, this means that you're so near me that I can't see you and so I'm not going to take any more avoiding action (because for all I know it could steer me towards you).
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Re: Car horns

Postby DSenette » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:06 pm UTC

Davidy wrote:
DSenette wrote:
Davidy wrote: And even those happen so infrequently that I think manufacturers could just eliminate the horn altogether and save a few hundred dollars per car.
considering i can purchase a replacement OEM horn for my truck for $15 or less.....i think this is a gross over estimation of the cost of a horn. even including factory labor you're nowhere near several hundred dollars to install a horn in a car.

You're talking about the (probably Chinese made) horn itself. I meant the entire system - contacts in the steering wheel, wiring, relays, nuts/bolts/mounts, plus the physical horns too. I'm positive that, even without the dealer's markup, you'd pay a few hundred for these components if you tried to buy them.

get me quotes for those parts then....because if you ever go somewhere and try to buy a "horn system" and they quote you hundreds of dollars...you need to turn around.

horns are not complex items. for all intents and purposes there's a momentary switch (maybe $1), several feet of wire (maybe $.50), some miscelaneous bolts and mounting hardware (maybe $10), a relay ($6 maybe) and a horn (absolute maximum $50). if your car company is CHARGING you hundreds of dollars for the horn being in the car, they're deffinitely putting a BIG fucking markup on it. they are not paying hundreds (most likely not even one hundred) for the horn being in the car. so if they STOPPED putting horns in cars, they would just charge you those hundreds of dollars for something else concidering they're not charging you those hundreds for the actual horn anyway.

that said, they're not tacking on hundreds of dollars to a car price for horns, at all.
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Re: Car horns

Postby omgryebread » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:44 pm UTC

I use my horn a lot!

1)To alert people the light is green. Rule of thumb for me is 5 seconds, 3 seconds if it's a protected left turn.
2)To alert bikers that I'm going to pass them. Not always needed, but sometimes they can be kind of oblivious or looking at something else, so a quick friendly tap followed up with a wave as you pass them is pretty nonassholeish.
3)To warn pedestrians. This happens all the fucking time downtown. When I'm driving to a restaurant or club or to my parents house, invariably some asshole will step out (not at a corner or crosswalk) from between two parked cars, while also looking the other way.
4)When backing up in a neighborhood frequented by kids. I don't have a backup camera on my bitchin 96' Rav 4, so this is a good way to tell kids to get out of the way.
5)To summon people to my car. Because seriously, double parking on a city street to get go get someone from their house or apartment is The Worst Thing.
6)To summon people who have double parked in a goddamn alley. This is The Even Worse Than the Worst Thing.
7)Hey you are merging your car into mine; cars do not work that way; please stop.


I feel like those are all legitimate uses, though it can be difficult to do number 2 without feeling like an ass.
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Re: Car horns

Postby Davidy » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:44 am UTC

omgryebread wrote:I use my horn a lot!

1)To alert people the light is green. Rule of thumb for me is 5 seconds, 3 seconds if it's a protected left turn.
Are you really so special or important that 5, or even 25 seconds is so odious for you to wait? If you get to your final destination 5 minutes later than you otherwise would have, what have you really lost?
2)To alert bikers that I'm going to pass them. Not always needed, but sometimes they can be kind of oblivious or looking at something else, so a quick friendly tap followed up with a wave as you pass them is pretty nonassholeish.
Warning not necessary. The biker knows they're in traffic and expects that cars are around them. Just slow down, pull a little to the left and go around them.
3)To warn pedestrians. This happens all the fucking time downtown. When I'm driving to a restaurant or club or to my parents house, invariably some asshole will step out (not at a corner or crosswalk) from between two parked cars, while also looking the other way.
You might try just using your brakes. Or do you consider the "right of way" to be your God given right, defensible at all costs?
4)When backing up in a neighborhood frequented by kids. I don't have a backup camera on my bitchin 96' Rav 4, so this is a good way to tell kids to get out of the way.
The accepted practice when backing up is to turn your head and look to see what's there. It's your obligation to assure that nothing is in your way; the rest of the world isn't obligated to get out of your way.
5)To summon people to my car. Because seriously, double parking on a city street to get go get someone from their house or apartment is The Worst Thing.
You've got to be kidding me! They should be on the curb waiting for you. If they're not, drive around the friggin' block until they are. Anyway, if you blow your horn and wait, you're double parking anyway; just get out of the car and go get them. Or call them from somewhere on your trip around the block.
6)To summon people who have double parked in a goddamn alley. This is The Even Worse Than the Worst Thing.
Sweet Jebus. I hardly know what to say about this one. How about just going a different way?
7)Hey you are merging your car into mine; cars do not work that way; please stop.
Exactly. Please stop. You, that is. If someone is drifting toward you, don't insist on "your space". Step on your damned brake on and let them go.
I feel like those are all legitimate uses, though it can be difficult to do number 2 without feeling like an ass.

Road and Track magazine once wrote an editorial article saying that you should be able to drive cross country from New York City to San Fransisco without once touching your horn. I guess it all depends on one's sense of their place in relation to the rest of the world - either blend in peacefully; or hey, here I am, watch out.
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Re: Car horns

Postby SurgicalSteel » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:51 am UTC

I'm curious, Davidy: do you drive?
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Re: Car horns

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:22 am UTC

The world needs fewer asshats, but it also needs fewer doormats, because the doormats enable the asshats, and non-doormats are also anti-asshats.

Davidy, it sounds like you want every driver to be a doormat, and to let all the asshats on the road get away with being asshats, because to do otherwise would be to be an asshat. But there is a difference between pushing other people around, and refusing to be pushed around. omgryebread gave many perfectly non-asshattish uses of a horn, and you seem to dismiss him as an asshat simply for not laying down and taking it from other asshats.

Here's the best example of this, though:

Are you really so special or important that 5, or even 25 seconds is so odious for you to wait? If you get to your final destination 5 minutes later than you otherwise would have, what have you really lost?

Are you really so important that your annoyance at a little beep is worth 5 minutes of my time? "Is getting there 5 minutes earlier worth it?" is a valid question to ask, but sometimes the answer is "no" and other times it is "yes". If the cost of saving that annoying delay is annoying someone else, especially the someone else who would otherwise have caused you that annoyance, then yeah, it's worth it; comparable cost (annoyance caused) and value (annoyance saved) means it's a fair price to pay, and if one who would cost you that (by causing the delay) is the one to pay for it (by being honked at), then it is justice.

Is getting there 5 minutes early worth endangering other people's lives by speeding and weaving dangerously through the flow of traffic? In that case, the answer is no, and anyone who does that just to save a negligible amount of time (also costing others more time along the way, in addition to endangering them) is an asshat. But that's not the case under discussion here.

Likewise, someone merging into you should not be met with passive "Oh me yarm I'm so sorry let me panic break or swerve to make room for you sorry to have been in the space you wanted so sorry", and may actually endanger other drivers behind and around you. A "hey hey hey watch out I'm in this lane!" honk is warranted, as much for the benefit of other drivers around you as to you and the guy about to merge into you. A good driver will also be preparing to maneuver out of the way in the way best dictated by surrounding traffic, but a honk is most definitely warranted in this situation if any. Likewise with pedestrians walking into traffic: honk to alert them to your presence, but also be on the break in case they're too stupid to avoid you anyway.
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Re: Car horns

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:59 am UTC

Davidy wrote:
omgryebread wrote:I use my horn a lot!

1)To alert people the light is green. Rule of thumb for me is 5 seconds, 3 seconds if it's a protected left turn.
Are you really so special or important that 5, or even 25 seconds is so odious for you to wait? If you get to your final destination 5 minutes later than you otherwise would have, what have you really lost?
2)To alert bikers that I'm going to pass them. Not always needed, but sometimes they can be kind of oblivious or looking at something else, so a quick friendly tap followed up with a wave as you pass them is pretty nonassholeish.
Warning not necessary. The biker knows they're in traffic and expects that cars are around them. Just slow down, pull a little to the left and go around them.
3)To warn pedestrians. This happens all the fucking time downtown. When I'm driving to a restaurant or club or to my parents house, invariably some asshole will step out (not at a corner or crosswalk) from between two parked cars, while also looking the other way.
You might try just using your brakes. Or do you consider the "right of way" to be your God given right, defensible at all costs?
4)When backing up in a neighborhood frequented by kids. I don't have a backup camera on my bitchin 96' Rav 4, so this is a good way to tell kids to get out of the way.
The accepted practice when backing up is to turn your head and look to see what's there. It's your obligation to assure that nothing is in your way; the rest of the world isn't obligated to get out of your way.
5)To summon people to my car. Because seriously, double parking on a city street to get go get someone from their house or apartment is The Worst Thing.
You've got to be kidding me! They should be on the curb waiting for you. If they're not, drive around the friggin' block until they are. Anyway, if you blow your horn and wait, you're double parking anyway; just get out of the car and go get them. Or call them from somewhere on your trip around the block.
6)To summon people who have double parked in a goddamn alley. This is The Even Worse Than the Worst Thing.
Sweet Jebus. I hardly know what to say about this one. How about just going a different way?
7)Hey you are merging your car into mine; cars do not work that way; please stop.
Exactly. Please stop. You, that is. If someone is drifting toward you, don't insist on "your space". Step on your damned brake on and let them go.
I feel like those are all legitimate uses, though it can be difficult to do number 2 without feeling like an ass.

Road and Track magazine once wrote an editorial article saying that you should be able to drive cross country from New York City to San Fransisco without once touching your horn. I guess it all depends on one's sense of their place in relation to the rest of the world - either blend in peacefully; or hey, here I am, watch out.


1. Yes. Get off the fucking road if you can't do this. Fuck you.
2. Fuck that - given how close people like to drive next to cyclists (and how little cyclists respect the laws of the road) I'm going to warn them when it's apropriate.
3. Fuck you if me warning someone is bad. A fat pedestrian is 400 pounds. A light car is 800. Physics do not favor the pedestrian in that collision. So yes, I'm going to warn people if they do stupid shit and walk against the light - which they do all the goddamn time.
4. You've never driven around people under 3 foot tall, have you? Or kids with poor impulse control or whatever you'd call it? Kids get under your wheels in a half second when you were looking at the back left of your car and not the back right. Fuck you if doing that to prevent me from killing some asshole kid makes me the bad guy.
5. Yeah, as much as I hate it.. one honk is fine. Any more than that.. no, turn the damn car off and go to the door. As for "double parking".. you fucking ignorant fuckstick twit, people have fucking driveways. People have parking spots in front of their houses. You are not necessarily double parking, you fucking wanker.
6. By the time you realize someone is there, going another way is often not an option fucking CHRIST do you even drive?
7. Fuck that! I'm going to tell someone they're goddamn swerving so they stop fucking texting or reading or shaving or whatever fucking stupid thing they're doing for five goddamn seconds and drive.


Lastly - Numbered Fucking Lists? Is that so goddamn hard? Or are you convinced that we (the people who put fucking Rants in the right goddamn place) have such a short attention span that we'd forget what you were droning on about if you didn't reference your point of complaint every two goddamn lines?
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Re: Car horns

Postby Adacore » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:33 am UTC

There are three situations, two of which omgryebread mentioned, where the horn is absolutely vital:

- When a pedestrian steps out into the road, or appears to be about to do so, without having noticed you, and you would have to emergency stop, and/or be physically unable to stop in time to avoid hitting them.
- When a car coming out of a side-road or parking space does something similar to the pedestrian in case 1.
- When a car that hasn't noticed you in their blind spot attempts to merge into you.

In those situations the horn could well be the only thing between you and an accident. For the first two, I guess you could argue that you should always be driving slow enough to stop in time, but if it happens unexpectedly you'd need to drive at about 20mph at all times in order for that to be possible - obviously that's not feasible. If you're driving on a major road - even if it is in an urban area - the rules of the road expect (and, in some cases, require) you to drive at a speed such that something could move into the road within your stopping distance in such a way that you cannot avoid a collision. The ability to alert someone who is about to do so of your presence with the horn is invaluable.

In the third situation, there can be literally nothing you can do except hit the horn. I've been in a traffic jam, nearly stationary, in the middle lane of a three-lane carriageway before and had a car try to merge into me. The only options I had were to hit the horn, crash into another car, or blindly hope that the offending driver noticed me before we collided.

The rule I was taught was that the horn should only be used to alert others of your presence. In any situation in which you genuinely believe that someone hasn't noticed your car, and their not noticing your car could cause any kind of problem, you can legitimately use the horn. In other situations the horn should not be used. I personally think most of the other cases omgryebread mentioned are fine as well, so long as you limit it to a single brief honk, although I would probably refrain. Another situation I can think of (and that I've used the horn in myself) is where you want to alert another road user of something potentially dangerous that you can see that they can't.

EDIT: I completely agree, however, that you can drive, for the vast majority of the time, without touching the horn. I think I've hit it a grand total of 3 times in several years of driving. When you do need it, though, it's not just a nice-to-have, it's a necessity, and it saves lives. The fact that it's misused by a lot of people doesn't mean it doesn't have a legitimate use.

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Re: Car horns

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:07 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:The world needs fewer asshats, but it also needs fewer doormats, because the doormats enable the asshats, and non-doormats are also anti-asshats.


I feel like I've heard this speech before somewhere... (video is from team america, expect crude jokes and bad language)

SecondTalon wrote:2. Fuck that - given how close people like to drive next to cyclists (and how little cyclists respect the laws of the road) I'm going to warn them when it's apropriate.


As a cyclist, I'd never honk my horn to warn a cyclist I'm overtaking because doing so will quite possibly startle the cyclist and/or make them behave in ways counter-productive to overtaking them safely), I know that I'd probably turn around to see what was happening behind me which would result in my bike drifting slightly. People should wait for big enough gaps and then leave enough room rather than using their horn.

Adacore wrote:The rule I was taught was that the horn should only be used to alert others of your presence. In any situation in which you genuinely believe that someone hasn't noticed your car, and their not noticing your car could cause any kind of problem, you can legitimately use the horn. In other situations the horn should not be used. I personally think most of the other cases omgryebread mentioned are fine as well, so long as you limit it to a single brief honk, although I would probably refrain. Another situation I can think of (and that I've used the horn in myself) is where you want to alert another road user of something potentially dangerous that you can see that they can't.


In the UK, this (alerting others to your presence) is the only permitted use, of course, they're more pragmatic in the theory test and so in question asking you to interpret a drivers signals, you're usually not meant to assume it's actually being used "properly".
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Re: Car horns

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:12 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:2. Fuck that - given how close people like to drive next to cyclists (and how little cyclists respect the laws of the road) I'm going to warn them when it's apropriate.


As a cyclist, I'd never honk my horn to warn a cyclist I'm overtaking because doing so will quite possibly startle the cyclist and/or make them behave in ways counter-productive to overtaking them safely), I know that I'd probably turn around to see what was happening behind me which would result in my bike drifting slightly. People should wait for big enough gaps and then leave enough room rather than using their horn.


I also bicycle a lot, and I am of mixed thoughts on this. One one hand, having people let me know they are about to pass me is useful; on the other, as eSOANEM said, the honking could startle someone and make them weave or be generally counter productive. I have rearview mirrors on my bike though (and seriously, any bike that is on the road ought to have them, or at least a helmet one), so the use of the horn for me is superfluous.
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Re: Car horns

Postby JudeMorrigan » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:18 pm UTC

Davidy wrote:
omgryebread wrote:I use my horn a lot!

1)To alert people the light is green. Rule of thumb for me is 5 seconds, 3 seconds if it's a protected left turn.
Are you really so special or important that 5, or even 25 seconds is so odious for you to wait? If you get to your final destination 5 minutes later than you otherwise would have, what have you really lost?

Of course, one could just as well ask if the person sitting at the light is so special or important that they can't go more than 30 seconds without checking their phone.

Seriously though, it's not a matter of being special or important. Frankly, if I don't notice for whatever reason that the light has changed, I appreciate the heads up. As far as I'm concerned, a quick tap on the horn is the polite thing to do in that case.

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Re: Car horns

Postby DSenette » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:21 pm UTC

i'm getting to be somewhat certain that davidy must be in some form of debate class, and this is all just homework.
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Re: Car horns

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:47 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:2. Fuck that - given how close people like to drive next to cyclists (and how little cyclists respect the laws of the road) I'm going to warn them when it's apropriate.


As a cyclist, I'd never honk my horn to warn a cyclist I'm overtaking because doing so will quite possibly startle the cyclist and/or make them behave in ways counter-productive to overtaking them safely), I know that I'd probably turn around to see what was happening behind me which would result in my bike drifting slightly. People should wait for big enough gaps and then leave enough room rather than using their horn.


I also bicycle a lot, and I am of mixed thoughts on this. One one hand, having people let me know they are about to pass me is useful; on the other, as eSOANEM said, the honking could startle someone and make them weave or be generally counter productive. I have rearview mirrors on my bike though (and seriously, any bike that is on the road ought to have them, or at least a helmet one), so the use of the horn for me is superfluous.


I should probably point out that most of my recent cycling has been in Cambridge where bikes do a pretty good job of taking title of "king/queens of the road" away from the cars and where most of the roads I cycle on which have car traffic are usually either wide enough for cars to allow plenty of room when passing (which they generally do because they're one-way so there's no oncoming traffic) and most of the rest have cycle lanes.

Anyway, even before then, I certainly wouldn't have appreciated a car honking at me just because it's passing. If there's room for it to safely overtake then I shouldn't need warning and if there isn't room then it shouldn't go. There is no situation where it ought to be necessary to warn a cyclist that they are being overtaken.
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Re: Car horns

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:54 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Anyway, even before then, I certainly wouldn't have appreciated a car honking at me just because it's passing. If there's room for it to safely overtake then I shouldn't need warning and if there isn't room then it shouldn't go. There is no situation where it ought to be necessary to warn a Law-abiding cyclist that they are being overtaken.
With my edit, I agree.

I'd rather warn the asshats riding three abreast that I'd like to pass. Not that they give a shit anyway.
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Re: Car horns

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:37 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:I also bicycle a lot, and I am of mixed thoughts on this. One one hand, having people let me know they are about to pass me is useful; on the other, as eSOANEM said, the honking could startle someone and make them weave or be generally counter productive. I have rearview mirrors on my bike though (and seriously, any bike that is on the road ought to have them, or at least a helmet one), so the use of the horn for me is superfluous.


I should probably point out that most of my recent cycling has been in Cambridge where bikes do a pretty good job of taking title of "king/queens of the road" away from the cars and where most of the roads I cycle on which have car traffic are usually either wide enough for cars to allow plenty of room when passing (which they generally do because they're one-way so there's no oncoming traffic) and most of the rest have cycle lanes.

Anyway, even before then, I certainly wouldn't have appreciated a car honking at me just because it's passing. If there's room for it to safely overtake then I shouldn't need warning and if there isn't room then it shouldn't go. There is no situation where it ought to be necessary to warn a cyclist that they are being overtaken.


The roads that I am on, there are no cycle lanes, and rarely are there breakdown lanes (the shoulder being about 1' wide gravel before it drops into a 3' deep ditch). So the occasional heads-up really is necessary for safety here.
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Re: Car horns

Postby DSenette » Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:52 pm UTC

Davidy are you in the habit of just standing and waiting behind someone who has stopped in a door way until they move out of the way?
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Re: Car horns

Postby Xeio » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:44 pm UTC

Davidy wrote:
7)Hey you are merging your car into mine; cars do not work that way; please stop.
Exactly. Please stop. You, that is. If someone is drifting toward you, don't insist on "your space". Step on your damned brake on and let them go.
Breaks aren't magical devices that can prevent every accident (I hope that oversized vehicle behind you left enough stopping room!). What planet do you drive on exactly?

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Re: Car horns

Postby SlyReaper » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:51 pm UTC

A planet that builds cars with magic momentum-cancelling devices, perhaps.
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Re: Car horns

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:17 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:A planet that builds cars with magic momentum-cancelling devices, perhaps.


Inertial dampeners?
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Re: Car horns

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:18 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:Anyway, even before then, I certainly wouldn't have appreciated a car honking at me just because it's passing. If there's room for it to safely overtake then I shouldn't need warning and if there isn't room then it shouldn't go. There is no situation where it ought to be necessary to warn a Law-abiding cyclist that they are being overtaken.
With my edit, I agree.

I'd rather warn the asshats riding three abreast that I'd like to pass. Not that they give a shit anyway.


Oh, true. I'd only considered individual cyclists, if they're riding several abreast, there is at least some action they should take before being overtaken (like going single file).

eran_rathan wrote:The roads that I am on, there are no cycle lanes, and rarely are there breakdown lanes (the shoulder being about 1' wide gravel before it drops into a 3' deep ditch). So the occasional heads-up really is necessary for safety here.


Are they single-track roads or is there traffic in both directions? If it's a single-track road it could possibly useful just to get you to hug the edge of the road a little closer than normally, but otherwise there isn't anything you can do to help yourself be overtaken and so, if the driver feels they need to warn you they're probably not overtaking at a safe point.
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Re: Car horns

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:23 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:The world needs fewer asshats, but it also needs fewer doormats, because the doormats enable the asshats, and non-doormats are also anti-asshats.

I feel like I've heard this speech before somewhere... (video is from team america, expect crude jokes and bad language)

I actually realized the similarities as I was writing that and considered rephrasing myself to use that language, but then decided against it because the models are essentially different despite superficial similarities. Their model has just three broad categories of pussies, dicks, and assholes, whereas I have two axes of asshattery and doormattery. Though I suppose since a doormat-asshat would be a contradiction in terms, you could divide that field into quadrants, and the three non-empty quadrants (omitting the nonexistent doormat-asshat) would correspond roughly to the Team America categories, though I wouldn't want to call everyone who is neither a pussy nor an asshole a dick; that's where normal, well-adjusted people should go.

Though in retrospect, I suppose the doormat-asshat quadrant corresponds pretty well to passive-aggressiveness (and perhaps to Team American's "pussies who get so full of shit they turn into assholes"), so maybe that quadrant isn't really empty after all.
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Re: Car horns

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:37 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:The roads that I am on, there are no cycle lanes, and rarely are there breakdown lanes (the shoulder being about 1' wide gravel before it drops into a 3' deep ditch). So the occasional heads-up really is necessary for safety here.


Are they single-track roads or is there traffic in both directions? If it's a single-track road it could possibly useful just to get you to hug the edge of the road a little closer than normally, but otherwise there isn't anything you can do to help yourself be overtaken and so, if the driver feels they need to warn you they're probably not overtaking at a safe point.


Unfortunately, they are both directions - really, a lot of the roads there are no 'safe' passing zones, just ones that are 'less dangerous'.

(sigh)

My company does work for some of the towns in the area, and we keep asking to put in either larger breakdown lanes or cycle lanes, but it is a matter of both budget and right-of-way widths - usually one or the other prevents them from being built.
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