A recent Kanetix.ca survey found that almost half of Canadians (48%), whether on foot, bike or behind the wheel, have been startled by a car horn blast to the point of feeling agitated, unsafe or even potentially getting into an accident.
The survey also reveals:
- Males are slightly more likely than females (48% vs. 45%) to use their car horn.
- The younger generations are more likely to use their car horn (59%) than Generation X (54%), Baby Boomers (41%) and the Silent Generation** (38%).
- 46% of Canadians use their car horn most often in response to an automobile cutting them off or a dangerous driver.
- 17% of Canadians say they primarily use their car horn when a driver is not paying attention to a traffic light change.
- Canadians support fines to deter inappropriate car horn use.
27% would like the 11:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. timeframe for illegal car horn use expanded seven days a week, while 10% would like this timeframe expanded on weekends only.
- 34% are in favour of issuing fines of up to $350 for illegal use of the car horn.
“Car horn honking by Canadian drivers occurs too often,” said Janine White, VP of Marketplaces and Strategy at Kanetix.ca. “Drivers are quick to react to traffic-related issues by aggressively blasting their horn. What many drivers don’t realize however, is that there’s a time and a place for horn honking, and misuse can put others – pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers – potentially in harm’s way.”
Drivers often forget that the car horn is a safety feature which should only be used when absolutely necessary. According to the Official Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) Handbook, situations that warrant a car horn honk are those in which one feels threatened by another driver. In this scenario, one should use their horn to attract the other driver’s attention. Horn use can also be done to gain the attention of an animal on the road in an effort to prompt it to safety.
Based on the Kanetix.ca survey, 41 per cent of Canadians ranked rush hour traffic as being worse now than it was three years ago, with nearly one in five Canadians (18 per cent) ranking it as the absolute worse they have seen. Also, nearly half (46 per cent) of Canadians stated they are likely to use their car horn to indicate their disapproval of any traffic-related issues. The most common reason, justifiably, is in response to a dangerous driver on the road, followed by a driver not paying attention to a traffic light change from red to green.
“As traffic across Canada becomes increasingly worse, so will unnecessary car horn use,” said White. “We all need to be mindful of each other on the road and realize that, despite poor traffic conditions or drivers not paying attention behind the wheel, inappropriate car horn honking can result in startling others to the point of getting into an accident.”
The Kanetix.ca survey, conducted between July 3 to July 6, 2018, polled 1179 respondents across Canada. The sample’s age ranged from 18 to 72+ years old. To participate in the survey, respondents were required to be over 18 years old and have a driver’s licence. Survey questions were presented via telephone and respondents provided answers through the touchpad of their mobile device or home phone.
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** Younger generations – born after 1980, Generation X – born between 1965-1979, Baby Boomers – born between 1946-1964, the Silent Generation – born before 1946.