Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hone your honk!

Honking in India is all pervasive... People honk when they turn left, right, while passing a lone sidestreet, when the stretch of road ahead is empty, when they're at a red, or just simply to show that theyhave a good horn on your vehicle. The loudness, tones, and duration all vary. Irrespective of the kind of vehicle, everyone honks... right from the autowallas to the 'national permit' lorries. It seems to be a kind of a way of asserting themselves on the road, which is sad.

There are adverse effects to excessive horning on the health of our citizens which honkers don't seem to realise. I've felt it myself, and I bet you have too - when someone honks right behind you, you get tensed and annoyed for a brief period - few of the many health hazards of noise pollution. Roadway noise is a major source of noise pollution; I could go on about its ill-effects (of course after some online research), but I'm not a health expert.

There's plenty of scope for self-regulating honking - when I've been the pillion, I've noticed numerous instances where honking is simply unnecessary. If we follow some simple road rules (moderate speed on city roads, maintaining lane discipline, being more observant & patient, and signalling using light where possible during the night) we'd soon realize that honking is unnecessary.

Compare our road behavior vis-a-vis honking with that of the U.S., where honking is considered a stern reproach to the guy who's ahead of you. You hardly hear a honk on the roads!

Alas, excessive honking has already defeated the purpose of the horn - most people here, myself included, ignore horns, because there are so many of them at one instant and simply because listening to and addressing every honk would be impractical. For instance, in a crowded street, how would you know whether the horn is directed at you, let alone take corrective action? :)

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