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When You Shouldn’t Use Your Horn

Woman using the horn - Copyright: Syda Productions

Only to Insure Safe Operation

By law, you must only use your horn when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation. This means you must only use your horn to avoid accidents.

The law may also require you to use the horn when approaching any curve where the view is obstructed within a distance of 200 feet.

There are several situations when the use of horn is discouraged and even illegal. Your knowledge test will usually focus on these situations.

Let us have a look at some of them.

Horses and Other Animals

Horses and livestock are easily scared by fast moving vehicles and the sudden sound of a horn.

When you approach horse-drawn vehicles or horseback riders, you must slow down and go ahead with caution. When a rider signals you to stop, you must stop. Never use your horn. It is dangerous and often illegal.

Blind Pedestrians

Some drivers think it is a good idea to honk at a blind pedestrian standing at a crosswalk. It isn’t.

Blind pedestrians with guide dogs or white canes must be given the right-of-way at all times. You must to stop and should not honk your horn. A blind person has no idea what you are honking at or how to react.


You should extremely careful before tapping your horn around bicyclists. Use your horn lightly and only when it is necessary to avoid an accident or when it is necessary to let the bicyclist know you are near.

Always avoid using the horn when the bicyclist is a child. They are easily startled and their behavior is unpredictable. Honking your horn may cause them to make a mistake, swerve, or fall.

Greeting a Friend

Never use your horn to greet a friend or get a friend’s attention. It is improper use of the horn and may result in a ticket.

Other drivers may think you are honking at them.

Encourage Someone to Get Out of the Way

Never use your horn to encourage someone to drive faster or get out-of-the-way.

Tapping the horn at the driver in front of you the second a traffic light turns green is not only bad manners, it may also trigger road rage with a stressed-out driver on edge.

Honking the horn does not help when you are stuck in traffic jam.

Aggressive Honking

Do not use your horn to tell other drivers that they made a mistake. Your honking may cause them to make more mistakes. Remember, nobody is perfect. Do not take another driver’s mistakes or misjudgments personal.

Never use your horn because you are upset, angry, or in a hurry. Honking the horn won’t let your anger go. It may actually increase your frustration and it won’t get you to your destination faster.

Unnecessary use of the horn is a sign of aggressive driving and may result in a ticket.

What You Should Do Instead

Remember, in many situations it is safer to slow down or stop instead of using your horn.

About Mark
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  1. Is it usually considered legal to honk at a pedestrian if they are walking on the road instead of on the sidewalk next to it?

    • No state law prohibits honking in this specific situation. The law, however, usually says that you must not use your horn unless it is necessary.
      If there is little room and you believe that the pedestrian does not not see or hear you, a light tap on the horn is justified. If there is plenty of room and no immediate risk of an accident, it is probably best to just slow down and allow the pedestrian more space.

  2. This still didn’t fully answer my question. I am not ttrying to sound narcissistic, but I am honked at frequently as an attractive female. Is that legal? I wwould assume that it is considered I feel harassed, and I’m a minor.
    Thank you, tabitha

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