The International Etiquette of the Car Horn
Now that I am thirty, I've been driving for half of my life. I have driven in many cities around this country, and I've noticed some big differences in the drivers in these cities. Without a doubt, the absolute worst drivers in the entire world converge in Orlando. We have the truly diabolical combination of large quantities of international tourists, college students, and old people. For the longest time I would have told you the most painful experience of my life was trying to navigate the 4-way stops in Waterford Lakes Town Center (now it's childbirth, but I'd say that 6 lanes in each direction with a bunch of people either waving people ahead or just barging through without ANY BLOODY UNDERSTANDING OF RIGHT-OF-WAY is still a close second).
I wish that I could get the whole world on the same page when it comes to obeying the laws of traffic, paying attention to your surroundings, etc., but that's probably too ambitious. Instead I've developed a new pet peeve that I really feel the need to address: the car horn. My conclusion, particularly after being an Orlando driver for the past 12 years, is that the population does not understand the horn (either how to use it or how to respond to its use). I've long had this blog entry on my to-do list, so without further ado, here is a universal guide: Emily's International Etiquette of the Car Horn.
First thing's first: let's all figure out what we're talking about. Most motor vehicles come equipped with a horn. Usually, you sound your car's horn by pressing an area on your steering wheel. A large beep or honk will be emitted from your car.
Why is it there? Here are common acceptable uses for your car horn:
1- Alert a fellow driver to your presence, particularly if said fellow driver appears to be unaware of your presence. Perhaps they are drifting into your lane without checking their blind spot, or maybe they are pulling out of a parking space and cannot see you.
2- Alert a fellow driver to a lapse in attentiveness. Perhaps they are too busy eating a taco to notice the light has turned green.
3- Alert a fellow driver to their raging case of FI [F***ing Idiot] disease. My personal favorite is the driver who is in the turn lane, but then decides when the light turns green that they didn't want to turn, and you are stuck behind him trying to turn while he decides to just hang out and block traffic until he can worm his way back into the main traffic lane.
In all these cases, you will notice that the horn is applied to another driver when they are either about to or currently are flagrantly disregarding laws of traffic and/or common human decency.
The ONLY ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE to someone using a car horn to make any of the above points when it comes to your driving:
GET YOUR **** TOGETHER. DRIVE ON.
That ^ needs to take place in less than one second. If you'd like to supplement the above with a brief, apologetic wave WITHOUT DELAYING the "drive on" part, that is also acceptable.
Now I will outline the responses that are NOT acceptable (all of which I have encountered driving in Orlando, thus prompting this post).
1- Stopping everything else you are doing to turn around and STARE AT ME like you want me to spell out for you whatever reason I could possibly have for me honking at you.
2- Flip me off/ Yell and scream obscenities/ Get Angry at me. It is not my fault that you are an inattentive driver, I merely chose to draw your attention to it.
3- Gun your engine to catch up with me, then proceed to roll down your window and try to draw me into some sort of fist fight on the side of the road. No, really.
I hope this guide will serve to help us all come to a more peaceful driving future. Thank you for your time. Now, get your **** together and watch the road instead of reading my blog on your cell phone, ok?