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Building rapport with car horns

HOUSTON, TX – Reaching out and connecting with others in traffic can be done simply with the use of the horn in your automobile. Millions of motorists have this handy tool literally within their reach.

In these hectic and fast-paced times, it’s sometimes difficult to make contact with our fellow humans. Most of the time, other drivers and their passengers are wrapped up in the microenvironments contained in their own vehicles. Talking, or even shouting, will usually not bridge the divide, but honking can.

You can express joy, frustration, anxiety, greetings, and even farewell with the delicate language of the horn. Variation in length and patterns of honking affords us a wide range of communicative possibilities.

“It’s the primary way we alert people that the light has turned green,” said traffic expert Drew Wrathley. “But why leave it at that? We can reach out to other drivers or even pedestrians to signal our dissatisfaction with choices they’ve made. It’s the quickest way to let someone indoors that you have arrived, and it works to notify everyone in nearby buildings.”

“Some cities have embraced the diversity of expressive possibilities honking gives us. Visit New York, Chicago, or Miami sometime,” said Wrathley. “The people in those places are intimately familiar with the rich linguistics of beeping the horn. In other places, it’s considered rude, but that’s to the detriment of their personal and civic development. Honking is a uniquely human bonding experience.”

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