The Horn As A Navigational Tool

When I was learning to drive, one piece of advice I still remember was:

Never blow your horn because whatever damn fool thing the other driver is doing to get you in an accident is predictable. They will continue to do the same damn fool thing. Therefore, focus on avoiding the collision, and not venting your anger. Honking the horn can only cause the other driver’s panicked reaction to be unpredictable, thus making the situation more dire. The horn can cause inopportune slamming of the brakes, gunning the accelerator, or swerving sharply (invariably in the direction one was hoping to avoid them.)

This isn’t advice practiced in India. Rather the horn seems to be used to say, “One of us should be paying attention right now, and I kind of need a break.”

I suspect one reason why Indians don’t follow the above advice  is because there is no erratic response to horn blowing here–there is no response whatsoever. The locals don’t even hear the horns anymore. I’ve only been here three days and I’m already becoming desensitized to them. (Although I took an early morning walk this morning and everything was perfect in the world because the horn blowers had not yet awoken.) No doubt, many literally cannot hear the horns after a lifetime subjected to the blare,

I wonder whether the blowing of the horn isn’t just an attempt to assert one’s existence among the whirring throngs of motorists.

Bangalore suffers from regular, albeit ephemeral, power outages. Sometimes the sewer drains don’t work as intended. Sometimes, cars come to a gliding halt; hoods popping up. But one thing works with the certainty of death and taxes. and that’s the horn on every single motorized vehicle in the country. One would think the horns would wear out, that they would choke and sputter, but there seems no sign of that.

1 in 3 drivers are looking at the road at any given moment

Only 1 in 3 drivers are looking at the road at any given moment (but the one not looking slams on his horn to alert others to keep an eye on him.) 

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