Horn 'Not OK' Please!

Are you one of those that prefer to press the horn over the brake while driving?

If you answered 'Yes', then I guess you are the perfect audience for this piece (at least I hope so). If you answered 'No', you should still read it to know if you answered honestly or purely under social pressure of convincing yourself that 'No… That's not me'.

There used to be a time when people loved to go out for a walk or a casual stroll, to blow off steam, spend quality time with a loved one or just feel good and enjoy nature. Try that now and odds are you will come back with a severe headache or a mood worse than what you left to sort out. The biggest culprit for this disaster being the loud and incessant honking all around. Honking that is completely unnecessary and practically useless.

The logic towards honking is completely alien to most people who prefer to use common sense and logic. Imagine this… a road with bumper to bumper traffic running for almost a kilometer. How is continuous honking by people at the rear end expected to solve or speed things up? Doesn't make any sense whatsoever right? Whether the people in the vehicles bang in the crux of the traffic situation can even hear them or not is a different question altogether. So then, why do we honk so much? What's the point?

The answer really lies in the disease that has plagued our cities… more dangerous than HIV and far more lethal than cancer… "Impatience". So busy are we running around, trying to get some place faster than humanly possible, ignoring everything, logic, traffic sense, civic sense and most importantly common sense. How many lives are lost each year to accident caused due to speeding, lane cutting, signal jumping and last but not the least… road rage? 

Running around all the time, we have completely muddled the entire concept of having a life. Not wanting to stop anywhere, no expectation to look at and admire the nature or even notice people around us. There is so much around us; color, life and vibrancy, but our narrow minds with limited vision, focused only on getting to our destination and getting there faster than the speed of light.

Our impatience and frustration needs some outlet and unfortunately, the easiest available option is our vehicle horn. The quickest way to take it all out, forget it and move on. Without a care that its actually not unburdening, but in fact changing the outcome, to something far more worse. Taking out our inner inability to deal with stress and converting it into a tangible mess for everyone around, including your own self.

If you are still in denial and do not agree, here are some statistics for you against the allowed limit if 55 decibels during the day and 40 decibels during the night.

Now, if these statistics do not make sense to you, let us see what regular exposure to such sound levels can do to you. You do not need to be a doctor, just common sense and a simple Google search will also corroborate what is stated below. Exposure to such noise levels can cause:

  • High Stress Levels
  • Headaches
  • Noise Induced Hearing Loss
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Tinnitus

So, if you had the brilliant idea that honking eased frustration, it does, on the contrary increase stress levels and consequently your blood pressure, leading to heart problems. Headaches are quite common, since the ears have  threshold it can bear and the levels suggested above are far higher than they can handle. Noise induced hearing loss is more common among kids now (you are safe, so your kids suffering is not your problem, right?). Sleep disorders than you have been blaming your stressful life for (viscous circle).

The most serious of the lot being Tinnitus which causes ringing or odd sounds (like church bells) in your ears, sounds that do not exist in real life and only the one suffering can hear (like a hallucination). It is commonly known to cause depression, severe frustration & anxiety (feeling that you are going crazy).

Governments and courts through awareness campaigns and laws have been trying to bring this under control. Red FM ran the witty "Don't be Horny" campaign to spread the word to the people. NGOs like Awaaz Foundation have been doing regular experiments and ads to educate people about the dangers. But at the end of the day, if we are living in denial and do not accept this reality, then we are headed for certain doom. Does every bad habit need to have some affected personally (loved ones) before we finally accept the harsh reality?

To be honest, is honking really worth it? Something that does nothing to reduce your stress nor traffic woes, but only increases your medical woes. You may think you do not contribute to it, but honking is something we do at an unconscious level. Next time you go out driving, consciously try to keep track how many times you do honk. Not only you will realize your folly, but also how annoying and irritating the experience can be.

Keeping that in mind, make a very small effort for current and future generations alike to avoid making such noise and to spread the message. Let's be realistic and reduce this nuisance as much as we can. We may never be able to convince all (appealing to everyone's ego is impossible), but we can certainly reduce or regulate it with self-control. Can't we?

1 comment:

  1. Completely in agreement with the views!! Incessant honking is the biggest plague that has hit Indian cities these days....Its so irritating, especially after a long day at work...and worst, mindless honkers don't even bother to check if there's a hospital around...needless to say our traffic laws as usual have been turning a blind eye to the problem!!


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