I try to be a patient driver. Although I see no reason to swerve from lane to lane between sets of traffic lights and think that heavily stepping on the gas only to have to slam on the brakes a few seconds later is silly, I keep my
mouth shut horn quiet.
This apparently baffles some people. Recently, my passenger was so outraged by some other driver’s bad decision-making that he demanded that I honk. When I refused, he reached over and tried honking on my behalf.
This was not okay and I let him know it.
“But why won’t you honk?!”
- If the driver I am directing my honk toward is purposely being inconsiderate, he really isn’t going to care about that honk. A little toot isn’t going to magically make him say “Oh, you’re right. I really should stop behaving so boorishly. Thank you for pointing it out.” If anything, it will annoy him, making him even more aggressive and inconsiderate.
- If the driver being honked at is just plain clueless, he won’t even realize that the honk is for him.
- It’s possible that what may look like aggressive, uncooperative, or selfish driving could actually be the result of a genuine mistake. Honking in this circumstance would only serve to make an already stressful situation worse.
- Not just your target can hear your honk. Other, alert drivers may assume they have somehow triggered your outburst and may become anxious since they will have no idea what they have done (or may still be doing) wrong.
I believe that honking out of anger, frustration, or any other negative emotional state can lead to road rage. I don’t know about you, but I’m of the opinion that we would all do well to have less of this in the world.
The next time you are about to press the palm of your hand against the center of your steering wheel, ask yourself the following question: What do I want for this action to result in and what is the likelihood that it will?
If it turns out you are compelled to act out of gracious concern, knock yourself out and honk away. Otherwise, keep your hands in the 10-2 position and take a chill pill for all our sakes.