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Horn Please – The art of honking in India

  • Mrinalini Singh
  • August 4, 2017
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In India, the first thing that gets your attention is the constant honking of the horn from all kinds of vehicles. There are even musical horns with so many different tunes if that makes you feel any better. Honking, however, is the necessity of Indian driving; it is part of the road-side manners. Clearly, the population is way beyond what the roads are designed to handle. Every day, the number of cars being purchased goes on increasing, but the roads are almost the same year long.

Now-a-days, they have even introduced some musical horns with so many different tunes, if that makes you feel any better. But, the annoyance of horn noise is something that bugs anyone who visits India after a while, or for the first time. At first, one might think that honking of the horn is an indication of impatient driving or being overly aggressive on the road. After all, most of the vehicles have the rear-view mirrors and they should be able to tell that someone is approaching them from behind to pass by, instead of being reminded with a loud horn. Most of the drivers use horn for alerting the other drivers as they take-over or pass by in the narrow lanes.

Larger vehicles in particular, like trucks, prefer to be honked as someone passes by. You can always see big letter on the back of such vehicles reading, “Horn Please” and “Use Dipper at Night”. On top of the driving habits, the sheer volume of traffic makes it impossible to use lane space properly. As per the Supreme Court, it is an offence to blow horns in five sensitive areas anywhere in the country. These are – at signals, during traffic jams, in residential areas, near hospitals, and near religious institutions. Most of us are not even aware of these rules and violate the law all the time.

 

Despite attempts by many organisations to create awareness about this bad habit and to sensitise people about the harmful effects of traffic noise, hardly any change in attitude can be seen. Stringent measures such as limiting the permitted decibel level for horns of different vehicle types, imposing a fine on drivers who honk unnecessarily, such as during the short time between the green light and when the first vehicle starts moving or in no-horn zones such as near schools, can be a start. Driving classes and driving license tests should also include provisions for inculcating the habit of honking only when necessary.

In India, the first thing that gets your attention is the constant honking of the horn from all kinds of vehicles. There are even musical horns with so many different tunes if that makes you feel any better. Honking, however, is the necessity of Indian driving; it is part of the road-side manners. Clearly, the population is way beyond what the roads are designed to handle. Every day, the number of cars being purchased goes on increasing, but the roads are almost the same year long. Now-a-days, they have even introduced some musical horns with so many different tunes, if that makes you feel any better. But, the annoyance of horn noise is something that bugs anyone who visits India after a while, or for the first time. At first, one might think that honking of the horn is an indication of impatient driving or being overly aggressive on the road. After all, most of the vehicles have the rear-view mirrors and they should be able to tell that someone is approaching them from behind to pass by, instead of being reminded with a loud horn. Most of the drivers use horn for alerting the other drivers as they take-over or pass by in the narrow lanes. Larger vehicles in particular, like trucks, prefer to be honked as someone passes by. You can always see big letter on the back of such vehicles reading, “Horn Please” and “Use Dipper at Night”. On top of the driving habits, the sheer volume of traffic makes it impossible to use lane space properly. As per the Supreme Court, it is an offence to blow horns in five sensitive areas anywhere in the country. These are – at signals, during traffic jams, in residential areas, near hospitals, and near religious institutions. Most of us are not even aware of these rules and violate the law all the time.   Despite attempts by many organisations to create awareness about this bad habit and to sensitise people about the harmful effects of traffic noise, hardly any change in attitude can be seen. Stringent measures such as limiting the permitted decibel level for horns of different vehicle types, imposing a fine on drivers who honk unnecessarily, such as during the short time between the green light and when the first vehicle starts moving or in no-horn zones such as near schools, can be a start. Driving classes and driving license tests should also include provisions for inculcating the habit of honking only when necessary.

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