Recently, I was contacted by a non-native PA resident as a sort of last ditch effort in providing an answer behind the reason to the local-ish custom of horn honking. I believe a Google led to my blog on horn honking traffic trolls (or maybe one of many road rage posts). As much as I’d like to proclaim myself an authority on all things ridiculous in Southwestern & Central PA, I must confess that I’d only be guessing here. So, I’d like to ask you to help this southern transplant understand the ways of us nothern-ish-ers here in Pennsyltucky.
Here’s the email:
Message / Comment:
I really hope you can help me, and answer my question before I either lose my mind, or go running out into the street to flag down a driver and ask him/her.
A bit of background: I moved to Central PA 5 years ago from Memphis, TN. It’s a very long and stupid story but, suffice to say, I am stuck in Hollidaysburg for now. It’s not a bad little town. And, compared to Memphis, it’s safety personified.
Anyway, I have noticed over the years that people honk their horns here. A lot. And not (seemingly) to acknowledge a friend they see on the street, as I have noticed this happen when there is NO one on the street (my street, in particular).
It always bugged me, and no one seemed to know why people do this (or it’s a stupid reason and they are ashamed to tell me), but today I really got in a snit.
From around 2:30 this afternoon for a good 5 minutes, people were honking their horns. A lot of people, honking a lot of horns. It annoyed me.
I looked on the internet, which is where I found your blog about horn-honking, and since you are in Pittsburgh, I thought you might be able to explain to me what in hell is with all this honking! I didn’t see anything on the internet that it’s, say, “Hollidaysburg Annual Honk-Your-Horn Day” at 2:30 PM or anything.
It’s snowing a bit, the first time this season. Is this some kind of weird weather ritual I never noticed until today? “Honk if you like snow”?
To me, it just seemed like an exaggerated example of something I hear on an all-too-often basis. And it’s, as we say in Memphis, getting on my last nerve!
Do you know what’s going on with this behavior??
Thank you in advance,
How’d you find my blog?: searching for “Pennsylvania horn honking”
Time: November 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm
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And here are my thoughts:
- Yinzers use short beeps to say hello. This probably happens in other places too. They could be beeping be a popular hangout or person. Maybe someone’s beeping for their
dealermedical marijuana vendor?
- I saw a news program once about people honking in front of some guys house because they hated him. Something political in a small town I think?
- Maybe someone has a kid, dog, cat, or crazy person that’s always running into the road.
- Anti-cyclist road rage.
- Is there a tunnel or an underpass shaped like a tunnel nearby? Why do people honk in tunnels around here? Do they do that everywhere?
- A well placed “honk if you’re horny” style sticker? Maybe even a honk for support or protest of something?
- Perhaps there’s an odd traffic situation nearby? Bringing out the horn honking trolls?
- Maybe there is something to the snow?
- Buses? Everyone hates buses.
Other than that, I’m stuck. What say you, people of Pennsylvania? Please comment below. Victoria and I would appreciate it!