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Old 09-08-2008, 09:47 AM   #1
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My sons tell me that I use my horn too much. But they were raised in a time of road rage where they fear a simple ˜beep' will be met with the business end of a 44 Magnum.

It never ceases to amaze me how I can be driving a 40 foot long, 13 foot high brown vehicle that is INVISIBLE to cars. Or maybe they think those big air brakes can stop 12 tons of fiberglass and metal on a dime? Either way, it's my civic duty to alert them with 95 decibels of wax-rendering sound waves.

Thinking back, I grew up in a time when a horn was more of a communication device:

Beep –> Please get moving.
BEEEEEEP -> WAKE UP and move your car forward.
Beep, Beep -> Hey honey, looking pretty good today!

Most Americans are very ˜honk shy'. Towns have noise ordinances. New York City has ˜honk free' zones. Like most men, I view a horn as an extension of my masculinity. Small car horns? Come on, no one is going to move for that low-decibel ˜chirp'. Pickup truck? Now you are putting some testosterone behind that baby. Semi truck air horn? The ULTIMATE in getting the attention of all drivers and pedestrians within a city block. And probably sending a few of them off to purchase a hearing aid.

Now Europeans really know how to use their horns. Especially the Romans. Spend a few moments observing the drivers (from a safe distance) navigating their way from Via Marmorala onto Viale Marco Polo in downtown Rome. Cliffs of thousand year old buildings confining a sea of cars that would fit into one of your basement compartments. Notice that the staccato of horns is constant and reverberate off those hallowed walls. Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. As if the drivers felt that silence would cause all traffic to stop. FIAT must make a bundle on replacing horns that just plum wear out. I've never been to Asia, but looking at pictures of traffic in Bangkok or Beijing, I'm SURE those drivers know their way around a horn. When you have to encounter livestock on city streets, a horn is your ONLY weapon.

Maybe Americans just don't know where their horn IS anymore. My steering wheel has a mongo airbag with two microscopic ˜bugles' embossed on the black plastic. Black on black – almost PERFECT camouflage. I have to switch to my reading glasses just to find the darn horn! Press one inch away from those symbols and NO SOUND. Sometimes you have to press down with all your weight just to get a toot. Other times your elbow accidently hits its while your fishing for something that fell and you nearly scare yourself to the ˜big campground in the sky'!

There HAS to be an accepted time to use your horn. So if Emily Post had to create an ˜Air Horn Etiquette' FAQ, what would it look like?

Q: Can you honk if the driver in front of you is on the cell phone?
A: A courteous beep will remind the driver that their primary responsibility is DRIVING!

Q: What if a person is ˜texting' while driving?
A: In order to obtain an immediate response, LAY ON THAT AIR HORN!

Q: Can I still beep at a nice looking woman?
A: Although in some states this would be grounds for sexual harassment, privately, the woman MAY be appreciative that she still ˜has it' after all these years. On the other hand, she could copy down your tag number and haul your sorry butt into court.

Q: When would you use the coveted ˜multi-note' horn?
A: In the upper echelon of tag-wheeled DP's, this is never acceptable. However, if you want to be viewed like the Gornicke's in the movie RV, go for it.

Q: What if one has have escalated from a regular horn to the air horn and the offending driver still does not capitulate?
A: You may want to provide directions to heaven with the finger of your choosing.
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:47 AM   #2
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My sons tell me that I use my horn too much. But they were raised in a time of road rage where they fear a simple ˜beep' will be met with the business end of a 44 Magnum.

It never ceases to amaze me how I can be driving a 40 foot long, 13 foot high brown vehicle that is INVISIBLE to cars. Or maybe they think those big air brakes can stop 12 tons of fiberglass and metal on a dime? Either way, it's my civic duty to alert them with 95 decibels of wax-rendering sound waves.

Thinking back, I grew up in a time when a horn was more of a communication device:

Beep –> Please get moving.
BEEEEEEP -> WAKE UP and move your car forward.
Beep, Beep -> Hey honey, looking pretty good today!

Most Americans are very ˜honk shy'. Towns have noise ordinances. New York City has ˜honk free' zones. Like most men, I view a horn as an extension of my masculinity. Small car horns? Come on, no one is going to move for that low-decibel ˜chirp'. Pickup truck? Now you are putting some testosterone behind that baby. Semi truck air horn? The ULTIMATE in getting the attention of all drivers and pedestrians within a city block. And probably sending a few of them off to purchase a hearing aid.

Now Europeans really know how to use their horns. Especially the Romans. Spend a few moments observing the drivers (from a safe distance) navigating their way from Via Marmorala onto Viale Marco Polo in downtown Rome. Cliffs of thousand year old buildings confining a sea of cars that would fit into one of your basement compartments. Notice that the staccato of horns is constant and reverberate off those hallowed walls. Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. As if the drivers felt that silence would cause all traffic to stop. FIAT must make a bundle on replacing horns that just plum wear out. I've never been to Asia, but looking at pictures of traffic in Bangkok or Beijing, I'm SURE those drivers know their way around a horn. When you have to encounter livestock on city streets, a horn is your ONLY weapon.

Maybe Americans just don't know where their horn IS anymore. My steering wheel has a mongo airbag with two microscopic ˜bugles' embossed on the black plastic. Black on black – almost PERFECT camouflage. I have to switch to my reading glasses just to find the darn horn! Press one inch away from those symbols and NO SOUND. Sometimes you have to press down with all your weight just to get a toot. Other times your elbow accidently hits its while your fishing for something that fell and you nearly scare yourself to the ˜big campground in the sky'!

There HAS to be an accepted time to use your horn. So if Emily Post had to create an ˜Air Horn Etiquette' FAQ, what would it look like?

Q: Can you honk if the driver in front of you is on the cell phone?
A: A courteous beep will remind the driver that their primary responsibility is DRIVING!

Q: What if a person is ˜texting' while driving?
A: In order to obtain an immediate response, LAY ON THAT AIR HORN!

Q: Can I still beep at a nice looking woman?
A: Although in some states this would be grounds for sexual harassment, privately, the woman MAY be appreciative that she still ˜has it' after all these years. On the other hand, she could copy down your tag number and haul your sorry butt into court.

Q: When would you use the coveted ˜multi-note' horn?
A: In the upper echelon of tag-wheeled DP's, this is never acceptable. However, if you want to be viewed like the Gornicke's in the movie RV, go for it.

Q: What if one has have escalated from a regular horn to the air horn and the offending driver still does not capitulate?
A: You may want to provide directions to heaven with the finger of your choosing.
__________________

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Old 09-08-2008, 08:03 PM   #3
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Good one I saw the other day, paraphrased, "telepathy vs the turn signal"...
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:14 PM   #4
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If you want to test the other driver's intellect hold up the index finger, the middle finger and the ring finger simultaneously and see if he/she can read between the lines, or you could hold up just your pinkie finger, aka The Hallmark Greeting , i.e. when you do not care to send the very best, or you could point your middle finger downward and see if he/she can read upside down.

These and other similar variations to the one finger salute tend to produce much less road rage. In most cases the other driver will not get your intended message anyhow so why chance pushing his/her road rage button. You got it out of your system and that in itself can be helpful. Fight stress with a littel humor, Ken,'04 DSDP...
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:33 AM   #5
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RVThere, I have some of the same thoughts as you except those involving pretty girls. Those would all cause DW's gun to fire.....

I agree with you that many drivers are in so much of a fog that the air horn is the only way to get their attention. I've found that it fails to do so in about 50% of those cases so even I question the value of its use. The cell phone users are by far the least effected by even long blasts of the air horn.

I was trying to fit into traffic from a roadside rest on our recent trip and tapped the horn lightly a couple of times to encourage a single driver to move to the inner lane to let me in. In return, I got the one finger salute so that works both ways.
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Old 09-17-2008, 04:07 PM   #6
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Duely noted, going to Harbor frieght to pick up that air horn kit they have
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Old 09-17-2008, 05:23 PM   #7
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Then there's the story about the woman who pulled out in front of the 18 wheeler and when he blew the air horn, it scared her so bad she slammed on the brakes and came to a screeching stop . . . . .

Most driver's are idiots . . . let's face it. I could not believe the number of people who would pull out in front of me when I was driving 18 wheelers . . . as if I could stop on a dime.

I religiously use my horn - no matter what I'm driving. I figure if they're that stupid, they deserve to have the biscuits scared out of 'em!!

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Old 09-18-2008, 09:44 AM   #8
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GraciesMom, your comment reminds me of one of the times that I used our air horns (which are mounted behind our front grill, about ear height on most passenger cars.) We had just taken the right fork of a "y" which has a fairly hard turn and I slowed up a bit to make sure that I didn't rollover from the force. A small pickup truck apparently had taken the left fork of the Y and, after the fact, decided that he had made a mistake. Out of my sight, he turned the truck and drove over an unpaved area, cutting into the space directly in front of me. I slammed on the brakes and just avoided hitting him. That put his open passenger side window about 3 feet in front of us at grill level. When I hit the brakes, I laid on the air horn at the same time. He jerked the wheel of his truck sideways when the horns sounded.

My guess is that the pickup driver needed to stop at the next exit and change his shorts. There was a tractor trailer right next to us, going around the corner. My DW says that he was laughing his head off at the situation. I figured that I was going to get the one finger salute from the pickup driver but he just finished pulling into the lane and got away from me as quickly as traffic would permit.
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Old 09-18-2008, 04:53 PM   #9
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I'll bet you are a joy to ride with. Your wife must be a saint.
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Old 09-18-2008, 05:29 PM   #10
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I ususally ride in a fire truck
the right hand seat and you would not beleave the number of times I have to use every kind of horn and siren I have to get some people to move over just makes you wonder where they are .
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Old 09-19-2008, 06:17 PM   #11
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I've found the worst ones seem to be a small car with two senior couples in it coming out of interstate rest area at 35 mph without looking and completely oblivious to any traffic already on the interstate. A little tap of the horn (5 to 6 seconds of the Hadley's) will generally get their attention and give them a gentle reminder of where they are and what should be doing.
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Old 09-21-2008, 06:13 AM   #12
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I have found through the years that so many people think they are race car drivers and driveing agressively will get them somewhere FAST.
Well life is to short I just back off and let them go and drink an dult beverage for them that evening while sitting at the fire.
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:58 AM   #13
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This is my third MH and first with airhorns. I have always been reluctant to use them because they are quite startling. Yesterday I was driving through an urban area. The lanes were 4 wide and I was in the far right lane to allow for the "real" owners of the road to fly by. As I was approaching an on ramp a lady was entering the highway. I slowed a bit to give her ample room (about 300 yards) between me and the vehicle ahead. All the driver saw was me coming in "her" lane and panicked. I hit the brakes to give her room. All she did was hit her brakes harder almost causing a wreck behind her. At this point I accellerated to get out of the mess. Apporximately 1/2 mile up the road here she came on my right side peeping her horn at me while shaking her finger. All I could think to do was hit my horn in response to acknowledge her. She shot across two lanes anf got the heck out of there. My bet is she'll probably look for the chrome horns next time before trying to intimidate. She sure taught me though!!
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Old 09-23-2008, 07:49 PM   #14
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I seldom use the air horns in anger, but I did scare the dickens out of a 5th wheeler outside of Nashville, TN. We had come off of the by pass when a semi turned over a quarter mile in front of us. Four lanes of traffic were moving smoothly into one lane when a 5th wheeler decided to stop right by the accident and take a picture. One long blast of the horns and he almost dropped his camera. The police had not shown up yet and everyone wanted to keep moving before they shut the highway down entirely. I doubt if he stops to take any more pictures of accidents.
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