Safety & Accident

Safety Tip: When to Honk the Horn

March 26, 2017

Automotive Fleet photo.
Automotive Fleet photo.

Horns are meant to give drivers a means of warning other motorists about a potential danger. But too often, drivers honk the horn to scold other drivers or express frustration — a habit that can lead to road rage.

Here’s some advice from the California Department of Motor Vehicles that you may want to pass along to fleet drivers:

Use your horn

  • Only when necessary, to avoid collisions.
  • To try to get “eye contact” with other drivers. You may tap your horn to alert another driver who might turn in front of you and cause a collision.
  • On narrow mountain roads, where you cannot see at least 200 feet ahead of your vehicle.

Don’t use your horn

  • If a driver or bicyclist is going slowly, and you want him or her to drive faster or get out of your way. The driver or bicyclist may not be able to safely go faster, due to illness, being lost, intoxication, or having mechanical problems with the vehicle.
  • To alert other drivers that they made a mistake. Your honking may cause them to make more mistakes or to become angry and retaliate.
  • Because you may be angry or upset.
  • To honk at pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists unless necessary to avoid a collision. Remember that your horn sounds much louder outside a vehicle.

Also, keep in mind that honking your horn may startle other drivers. It’s safer to slow down or stop instead of honking your horn.

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