As we begin the research for this post and type into my search bar ‘Why do people blow horns’, a Quora result completes my sentence by adding ‘in India so much’ to it. I scroll further down to find several other writers lamenting about the same. Google also suggests in related topics: India Honking, Indian Car Horn Sound and the most amusing: Honking ‘rules’ in India. Oh. It’s a thing. A realization dawns upon me that this might be a more obvious issue than I ever gave it credit for.
What makes me rant about honking out of nowhere one might ask? One theory: ears are as vital a body organ as any other. Another much obvious theory: the much-neglected cousin of air, water and soil pollution. You guessed it. “Noise Pollution”.
Sleep deprivation, on of the effects of noise pollution, can lead to hormonal and cardiovascular disruptions, impaired cognition and stress & anxiety. It might make one cranky and cause them to honk the next morning and return the favour to the cruel world. It’s almost a vicious cycle. Not to forget the obvious consequence of noise pollution: hearing impairment and eventually loss!
So, why are we being labelled as Horn-y? Why is honking an almost compulsive habit among our people now?
All stakeholders of the planetary resources and the Super-person Syndrome
Key stakeholders of mother earth just show up out of nowhere because it’s their planet too and there is an unspoken right to gravel access: jaywalkers, dogs, cows, sometimes chicken, aunties, uncles, that guy who has to skip his red light because there’s lighter traffic on the remaining 3 roads at a crossing. Sometimes, you’re probably just trying to not get someone’s blood on your hands while legitimately crossing your own light when it turns green. It becomes important to make an unpleasant noise to get them out of our way for the greater good of their and our lives. It does not hurt to be extra cautious. After all, if something goes wrong, the mob always goes after the one behind the wheel.
Humans are warm blooded
Can we really blame road rage? Of course. But what the ragers have to say in their defence is that it is way healthier than yelling or physically pounding fellow citizens to vent their frustration at the one guy who suddenly decides that his lane is not good enough for him or the one lady who doesn’t know that the left turn isn’t free this one time.
Patience is inversely proportional to Nuisance
Can we really not just take the hustle and bustle of a busy city, or avoid a swearing session and cultivate some patience in ourselves? It is a soft skill that helps us survive almost 40 years of our professional life. An investment worth it.
Real life is fast-paced and speed limits are a joke
Until we spot an interceptor followed by a gang of 10 traffic policemen cornering us to take our case. Sometimes, it’s just not the over-speeder, over-taker’s fault. Some of us only use rear-view mirrors to admire our luscious tresses and not see the other vehicles and their indicators in sight.
Denial: Machines are definitely not taking over yet, we need to check our phones at priority
We were probably just checking a missed call on our phone and the traffic signal turned green but honky-honkerson behind us couldn’t wait a second before they could rub our ignorance in our faces. Every moment counts. Not just to blame one party here. Maybe while crossing the road as a pedestrian we got a text message that’ll feel neglected and cause a relationship crisis if we leave it till we cross the road so the car coming at us is forced to honk so that we can live to tell the tale.
The Traffic Regulatory System
The least important reason of all has to be listed the last. Getting a driving license in India isn’t too difficult. The screening is not too thorough because who has the time to scrutinize whether X gave an indicator before turning right. It is probably more important to check if X can make an 8 in reverse. Sometimes X can just pay another sir who will help X skip the queues and get an express licence for a minimal fee. It’s called creating employment Susan, look it up! Even the most educated lot would definitely be unaware of most of the traffic rules and signs because it isn’t math or science and knowing that mitochondria is the powerhouse of a cell is way more important than learning when to honk.
Lack of time, or patience
Everyone is in a hurry. We are all running a race, god knows why and to where. Honking and driving fast rarely gets us to destination a few minutes before. And then we end up wasting that much time on watching the “idiot box” or “smart” phones.
How do we solve the problem? Droplets make an Ocean
Developed countries like the UK have an elaborate procedure of issuing driving licenses. There is a proper schooling system to teach the rules and the tests to obtain the license are way more stringent.
- Can we replicate for our developing nation by making the license obtaining procedures a bit stricter and transparent?
- Can more car companies, or even corporates open motor learning schools as a part of their CSR Initiative so that it helps eliminate the problem of obliviousness among the less resourceful drivers without hitting their pockets?
- Can they partner with unorganized cab drivers and help them understand and follow the rules better?
- Maybe car companies should mandatorily make the horns more pleasant, less loud, and non tamperable. Maybe, we can also try to introduce a quota system on the number of times one can ram the horn in a period.
- Would the government’s resolve to lower the volume level of vehicle horns become a reality soon and prove any good?
- Should honking be made illegal or is there another way before jumping to extreme impositions?
Are there other reasons why we honk to our heart’s desire? Do you have any other ideas that would help us Indians to not be as horn-y?