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Give Your Car Horn a Rest
Jeff Long, June 25, 2012 | Police Blog
Twice in the past week, I have listened to people laying on their car horns at the intersection that runs parallel to the police parking lot. Many of you have driven through here; it’s the intersection of Grange Road and Eden Avenue right by the Perkins. It’s an odd intersection in that it’s very wide. The timing at this intersection, for turning, may be thrown off because some cars pull up two abreast at the stop sign and turn in increments.
Regardless, as I listened to the extended horn honking it became very annoying and I was not even involved. Every single one of us has made an error while driving. There are no perfect drivers. If you think you are, well you are probably part of the horn brigade and part of the problem.
I wonder what makes drivers lay on the horn for such a lengthy period of time. Perhaps some people need to learn to deal with anger. Oh, and I always love the stare down from the honking driver — that’s always a classic.
I have been the one to make a mistake on the road, but I have also been the one who was “delayed” an extra 6.5 seconds by someone turning in front of me. I am not innocent; I have tapped the horn in irritation. But a funny thing has happened as I have aged. I found that I spent more time on the horn and being angry than the actual 6-second delay I had incurred as someone turned in front of me. You know what? It’s just not worth it. If we are running so late that one car turning before us is going to make or break our day, then it seems like poor planning is the problem. Maybe we should honk at ourselves.
We all make mistakes. Why is it that we want to punish and embarrass others by laying on the horn and staring them down? What really amuses me is when someone about my height (and I’m short!) is sitting in their big SUV honking the horn and staring down someone in a compact car. For some reason, certain people think they are larger than life in their big cars … and yes, I drive a big car, so I am not picking on SUV drivers. But, you know what? If you irritate the other person enough, you may end up with more than you bargain for. Not everyone takes kindly to getting honked at and mocked. There are people out there who have very short tempers. If you think road rage means that you are allowed to get mad at someone and honk, think again. Road rage means that, it’s RAGE. People get beat up, shot and killed over driving disputes. If you don’t believe me, then Google these words: “road rage shooting Minnesota.” Here are some of the headlines you will see if you do research those words:
1) Driver reports road rage-like shooting on Hwy. 61 (Minneapolis StarTribune, 12-28-11)
2) Gunshots Fired In Moorhead Road Rage Incident (http://minnesota.cbslocal.com, 4-28-11 )
3) Woman run over in Maplewood road rage incident (http://kare11.com, 5-23-10)
Leaning on the horn triggers a lot of emotion from people. And sitting in your big SUV will not protect you.
Minnesota State Statute 169.68 addresses when a horn may be used, it is as follows: The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation, give audible warning with the horn, but shall not otherwise use the horn when upon a highway.
It seems to me that if you only lost your spot in line to turn, there is no concern of “safe operation.” There is nothing in statute that says horns are to be used in “anger” or to “really show someone who is boss.”
Can we somehow get away from being so angry? Next time you are delayed by 6 or 7 seconds, think before you lay on the horn and glare at another driver. Is it worth the half hour of anger it just caused you? Is it worth getting assaulted over? Is it really worth death?
I challenge you to think before you honk. I know most of you will ignore my message, but I also know that most of you will be nodding your head in agreement as you read this. Give your horn a rest.