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Why are there horns in cars?

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Why are there horns in cars?

Old 06-17-10, 05:52 PM
  #1  
kuan
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Why are there horns in cars?

I wonder who put them in there in the first place.
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Old 06-17-10, 06:01 PM
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It started out as a way to warn another driver of an impending "problem", like, "HEY, YOU'RE ABOUT TO HIT ME!"

Now, it's just another mechanism that makes noise for the fully-grown juveniles who played with noisy toys as actual children.

After all, a truly mature person wouldn't think another person's life was worth the saving of a few seconds' travel.
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Old 06-17-10, 06:02 PM
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Many state still have laws on the books that require giving an audible signal when passing another vehicle. Section 316.083(2), Florida Statutes, says "Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle, on audible signal or upon the visible blinking of the headlamps of the overtaking vehicle if such overtaking is being attempted at nighttime, and shall not increase the speed of his or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle." I'm sure there are other references in the statutes to audible signals to other cars.
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Old 06-17-10, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
It started out as a way to warn another driver of an impending "problem", like, "HEY, YOU'RE ABOUT TO HIT ME!"

Now, it's just another mechanism that makes noise for the fully-grown juveniles who played with noisy toys as actual children.

After all, a truly mature person wouldn't think another person's life was worth the saving of a few seconds' travel.

Actually, they were originally mandated for the safety of pedestrians and animals.

And sadly, in the USA they have degraded to an annoyance. In many other countries the horn has remained very useful.
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Old 06-17-10, 06:10 PM
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Dude, lighten up and enjoy the sarcasm.
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Old 06-17-10, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by derath View Post
In many other countries the horn has remained very useful.
I would say that's the exception rather than the rule. I can't actually remember the last time I used my horn. Occasionally it's obvious someone is about to hit me because they have their heads down, usually the horn does no good in those situations though. About the only time it's any good for anything is if someone is changing lanes and is attempting to occupy the same part of the time-space continuum as I am.
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Old 06-17-10, 06:37 PM
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Before cell phones, they were the only way cabbies could communicate with each other.
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Old 06-17-10, 07:26 PM
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Why are there horns on sheep?
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Old 06-17-10, 10:20 PM
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Boss Hogg had big cattle horns on his Cadillac. Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Old 06-17-10, 11:25 PM
  #10  
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My daughter made the observation that in massachusetts, the horns seem to be connected to the brake pedal.
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Old 06-18-10, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
My daughter made the observation that in massachusetts, the horns seem to be connected to the brake pedal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJxWRm3_RqY
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Old 06-18-10, 02:07 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by derath View Post
And sadly, in the USA they have degraded to an annoyance. In many other countries the horn has remained very useful.
Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
My daughter made the observation that in massachusetts, the horns seem to be connected to the brake pedal.
Really??? The horn has degraded to an annoyance here in the US? I personally find it to be a very effective tool. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oetF3UTIwbc

I personally use my horn at least 10x a day on average. But then again, I drive in NYC. When I went back "home", I would use my horn over 500x a day. "Home" is another country. It just depends where you drive. When I lived in Ohio, I almost never had to use the horn. But I still did at times. Each time I used the horn in OH, everyone & their mothers JUMP (I see this through their windshield). Is it really that scary? I honked at the cops a few times. They were idling after the light turned green. He got scared as well. Pulled me right over. Saw that I had NY plates and told me not to honk unless it's an emergency. I asked if it was illegal to honk. He said no. So, I honked again with him next to my window. He jumped again. He shooked his head and went back to his cruiser.

I drive down one way streets often in NYC. One way streets are great places for cars to double-park (leaving just enough room for one car to squeeze by). After 10+ years of driving experience in NYC, you become very good at going pass these double parked cars at 25+ mph. What do I do? I honk each & every time. I don't want to get "doored".

Honestly, what scares me the most are Walmart parking lots (we have no Walmarts in NYC). It's scary driving down the parking lot and have a car put its reverse light on. I instinctively give it a quick beep. Most of the time, I get the finger or a fist up in the air. It's just my way of saying "hey, I'm right behind you buddy, use caution". I don't know, maybe it's just that I have 0% experience with parking lot etiquette. Am I supposed to stop and let him/her come out? What's funny is that sometimes after I give them a quick beep, they're still backing out. I'm at a complete stop already and they have plenty of room to maneuver out of that spot. But while they're in the middle of maneuvering out, I'll just lay it on the horn and they'll get so flustered. They just start panicking come to a complete stop not knowing what to do. If I continue honking, they'll eventually pull back into the spot. You rural folks just crack me out. Is honking really that offensive?

Last edited by wheeldeal; 06-18-10 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:35 AM
  #13  
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This is something I have researched for many years. I reckon there's a large majority of people out there who, if faced with a prospect of a collision, their first reaction is to hit the horn. Now I reckon that's dopey. I make my first reaction to hit the brakes. I also believe guys are more likely to go for the brakes first. Sometimes I am driving along with my GF and I get cut off, but I go heavily for the brakes, perhaps swerve a little using my peripheral vision as I check for other vehicles. I get round the other car and out of trouble feeling like I am in control. Then my GF pipes up "why didn't you hit the horn?". How ignorant is that?
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Old 06-18-10, 03:02 AM
  #14  
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Were there horns on bikes before there were horns on automobiles? I know bicycle horns have been common in the past, but not sure when they were first instituted. Bells are more common nowadays.

What about clowns? They need horns!
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Old 06-18-10, 05:07 AM
  #15  
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Honking works:

Here in Maryland drivers are required to honk at pedestrains.
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Old 06-18-10, 08:31 AM
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I only use my horn if the light has been green for more than five seconds and the driver in front of me hasn't responded. Even then, I try to do a short and light double tap.

I wish my horn didn't sound angry. I'd prefer to have horn that sounded happy, i.e. that said "Hi!" rather than "Get out of my way!" I would activate a "Hi!" sound rather frequently given how many of my friends and neighbors I see on the road.
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Old 06-18-10, 09:02 AM
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This is the law in CA:

27001. (a) The driver of a motor vehicle when reasonably necessary
to insure safe operation shall give audible warning with his horn.
(b) The horn shall not otherwise be used, except as a theft alarm
system which operates as specified in Article 13 (commencing with
Section 28085) of this chapter.
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Old 06-18-10, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by derath View Post
n many other countries the horn has remained very useful.
In many more countries, it seems the horns are in near constant use (and, therefore, useless).

The drivers in the US are relatively perfect users of car horns compared to many other countries.

(I suspect that I use my horn a few times a year.)

Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
I wish my horn didn't sound angry. I'd prefer to have horn that sounded happy, i.e. that said "Hi!" rather than "Get out of my way!" I would activate a "Hi!" sound rather frequently given how many of my friends and neighbors I see on the road.
This would be an illegal use for your horn. It also doesn't scale well (ie, if everybody did this, things would be rather noisy).

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-18-10 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 06-18-10, 09:55 AM
  #19  
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In Connecticut (where I learned to drive), the law is that in rural areas, you should toot the horn just before you crest a hill or take a steep curve ... probably in case some idiot is passing someone with little visibility.

Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I would say that's the exception rather than the rule. I can't actually remember the last time I used my horn. Occasionally it's obvious someone is about to hit me because they have their heads down, usually the horn does no good in those situations though.
They come in handy sometimes in parking lots where people named Devil May Care reverse out of a spot without checking their mirror first.
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Old 06-18-10, 10:50 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
I wish my horn didn't sound angry. I'd prefer to have horn that sounded happy, i.e. that said "Hi!" rather than "Get out of my way!" I would activate a "Hi!" sound rather frequently given how many of my friends and neighbors I see on the road.
+1 IMHO nothing good comes of limiting peoples ability to communicate to that which mimics primates cries of anger.
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Old 06-21-10, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
This would be an illegal use for your horn. It also doesn't scale well (ie, if everybody did this, things would be rather noisy).
A "hello" horn, not being an emergency device, would presumably be designed to sound less loud and annoying.

A lot of people use their existing horns to say hello, and are indeed noisy. Some try to modulate the sound with a shorter tap. I'm looking for a hardware solution to reduce the sound pollution while still allowing me to communicate with people who are not looking at me.

Some people have PA systems in their cars, or musical horns. That's not me. Maybe I can get a digital sample of a bicycle bell and play it out a speaker under the hood....
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Old 06-21-10, 07:51 AM
  #22  
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Please stay away from where I live.

Originally Posted by wheeldeal View Post
Really??? The horn has degraded to an annoyance here in the US? I personally find it to be a very effective tool. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oetF3UTIwbc

I personally use my horn at least 10x a day on average. But then again, I drive in NYC. When I went back "home", I would use my horn over 500x a day. "Home" is another country. It just depends where you drive. When I lived in Ohio, I almost never had to use the horn. But I still did at times. Each time I used the horn in OH, everyone & their mothers JUMP (I see this through their windshield). Is it really that scary? I honked at the cops a few times. They were idling after the light turned green. He got scared as well. Pulled me right over. Saw that I had NY plates and told me not to honk unless it's an emergency. I asked if it was illegal to honk. He said no. So, I honked again with him next to my window. He jumped again. He shooked his head and went back to his cruiser.

I drive down one way streets often in NYC. One way streets are great places for cars to double-park (leaving just enough room for one car to squeeze by). After 10+ years of driving experience in NYC, you become very good at going pass these double parked cars at 25+ mph. What do I do? I honk each & every time. I don't want to get "doored".

Honestly, what scares me the most are Walmart parking lots (we have no Walmarts in NYC). It's scary driving down the parking lot and have a car put its reverse light on. I instinctively give it a quick beep. Most of the time, I get the finger or a fist up in the air. It's just my way of saying "hey, I'm right behind you buddy, use caution". I don't know, maybe it's just that I have 0% experience with parking lot etiquette. Am I supposed to stop and let him/her come out? What's funny is that sometimes after I give them a quick beep, they're still backing out. I'm at a complete stop already and they have plenty of room to maneuver out of that spot. But while they're in the middle of maneuvering out, I'll just lay it on the horn and they'll get so flustered. They just start panicking come to a complete stop not knowing what to do. If I continue honking, they'll eventually pull back into the spot. You rural folks just crack me out. Is honking really that offensive?
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Old 06-21-10, 09:11 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
A "hello" horn, not being an emergency device, would presumably be designed to sound less loud and annoying.

A lot of people use their existing horns to say hello, and are indeed noisy. Some try to modulate the sound with a shorter tap. I'm looking for a hardware solution to reduce the sound pollution while still allowing me to communicate with people who are not looking at me.

Some people have PA systems in their cars, or musical horns. That's not me. Maybe I can get a digital sample of a bicycle bell and play it out a speaker under the hood....
That is generally called a PA... ie "the use of a speaker under the hood."

Here is what you want... http://www.carcoverkingdom.com/wolo-...ction.php?ID=7

However, if that still doesn't suit you... just install a doorbell. There are ringer type bells you could use.
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Old 06-21-10, 09:29 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
A "hello" horn, not being an emergency device, would presumably be designed to sound less loud and annoying.
Presumably.

It would still be annoying. If you aren't the one being tooted at, it's just noise pollution and distracting. It's kind of selfish.
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Old 06-21-10, 11:18 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
Please stay away from where I live.
Sure. But where do you live?
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