by Megha Sharma(@megha0111)
“I do not understand why they beep too much”
On the way back to home, travelling in a cab, half asleep, when I hear the cars honking on and on. The signal just changed to orange and they honk so impatiently as if the vehicle in front of them will never move. I asked my driver why was he honking continuously when he knows that the vehicle ahead of us can only move when the signal goes green. He says that he has inhibited the habit of blowing the horn. I think horns and accelerators are pressed altogether. Accelerators make them move continuously with assistance and horns let them move without resistance.
Drivers usually do not like applying brakes as it will break their momentum so they end up honking. They make sure that they are heard by others that their work is more important and they want to reach their destination earlier than anyone else on the roads. No matter what they are driving, a bike , a truck, a 4 wheeler or even a rickshaw, they will honk unnecessarily. I suppose that horn is a more important unit in a vehicle than any other parts. Why even the side mirrors and dippers provided in the vehicles when they are not used.
What I feel is everybody has a notion that if we get something for free we should utilise it completely. We don’t have to pay for blowing the horn. It doesn’t consume petrol or diesel nor it is taxable to honk. Honking is free. Woah! Just keep honking. It is fun. No matter if it is required or not. Huge traffic and narrow lanes and the habitual nature of drivers to blow the horn make it necessary to use the horns all the way at all times.
Even if the car is far away from pedestrians trying to cross the road, they will start immensely blowing horn. They do so to warn the pedestrians not to cross roads as they are coming. They cannot bear any hindrance in their way.
Announcing their presence in the crowd is also a great push behind honking. Getting a chance to show off your vehicle and not using it completely, is an injustice. It’s like the ministers on their way to work. As if they get late for their work and half of the country will suffer. The continuous honking to show that their time is the most precious. Their work is the highest priority and hence rest of the vehicles should take a side way and let them pass.
Supposedly, honking has got their hierarchical order in which they honk. Like, a Maruti alto will give the fellow driver a mild ‘beep’ whereas taking it Audi or BMW that will roar to blast you off the road. How can one waste something? If a horn button is provided in the vehicle why to abstain using it. How can it be left else way. One has paid for it and hence it must be used. So Honk!
I guess sometimes honking is done to break the monotony of the journey. Imagine everybody travelling with peace, without honking, minding their own business, keeping a way for others, letting the overtakes and waiting at the signal. Aww, it is going to be so dull and boring. And hence the brainy pitches in to have some entertainment and they honk and honk and honk.
The catch is that most of the vehicles carry a board at the back imprinted “HORN PLEASE” or “BLOW HORN”. So they cordially invite the vehicles behind them to honk and ask for the side. And hence they also honk to get a side irrespective of having the side mirror and the dippers. Even the horns are entertaining these days. One will get to hear the musical horns so that the probability of getting noticed increases anyway.
Even when the roads are empty it is a part of driving to keep honking as it entertains and keeps the spirit goes on while travelling.
There is a possibility that drivers find it easy to press the horn button as it is in the vicinity of the steering. What if the horn button gets shifted to some place which is not that easy to reach out every time. Maybe it leaves the driver to think twice before honking. Or a revert horn inside the vehicle which will blow back when the driver hit the button to honk. So when one honks for the outside world, he will get one back. It will be fun I guess.
There exists some fallacy that people honk as they are impatient or they find honking as their only stress buster. But honking not only damages hearing but also it leads to stress, hypertension and anxiety attacks. It contributes to the noise pollution as well.
Megha sharma is pursuing M.A in public policy at Mount Carmel college, Bangalore.