Decoding the car horn honk. (So, can you help this PA n00b out?) #beep ⚠


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:

Name: Victoria

Email: XXXX####@gmail.com

Website: http://victoriasviewpoint.wordpress.com

Message / Comment:

Hi,

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,
Victoria

How’d you find my blog?: searching for “Pennsylvania horn honking”

Time: November 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm
IP Address: ##.###.###.#
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/

Sent by a verified WordPress.com user.

And here are my thoughts:

Other than that, I’m stuck.  What say you, people of Pennsylvania?  Please comment below.  Victoria and I would appreciate it!

DON'T HONK | $350 PENALTY 🚌🚍🚙🚘🚗🚕🚖🚛🚚🚓🚔🚒🚑🚐

It’s called “right of way”, you anuses.


People consistently drive incorrectly, illegally, and dangerously at more than a few intersections that I travel through on a somewhat regular basis.  I’d like to deal with them all eventually, but let’s just start with one at a time.  I’ve talked about this kind of stuff before, and I’m not saying that I’m the perfect driver or never do anything wrong with my vehicles… but this kind of stuff is covered in the PA driver’s manual, isn’t it?

The first intersection that I’d like to deal with has a clearly marked right-of-way, but it’s apparently not clear to all drivers licensed by the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  First a description of the intersection in question thanks to Google Maps & my mad paint.NET skills:

Can you find all of the STOP signs?

Can you find all of the STOP signs? ( Hint: There's just 1.)

Does this really need any explanation?  Of course it does, or I wouldn’t be here ranting about it.  The green arrows are the path I usually take.  I chose green for my arrows, because I’m obviously always right.

Red arrow path people… I’m talkin’ to you.  I’ve seen you all try to pull out in front of me, no matter which green-arrowed path I’m taking.  You sit there, eking forward as if to tell me you’re interested in playing intersection chicken, or simply that you don’t quite comprehend that I don’t also have a stop sign.  To channel Dr. Seuss;

I don’t have a stop sign going up the hill,
I don’t have a stop sign going down the hill.
I can spot stop signs with such skill,
It must make you very ill.
I don’t have a stop sign going around the bend,
I don’t have a stop sign like you, my friend.

In case it’s unclear, the stop on the sign indicates that you are to sit there until all others in the intersection (with the right-of way) have gone though.  Which unfortunately for you, in this instance, is everyone except you.

CROSS TRAFFIC ⇆ DOES NOT STOP

...but YOU do.

Maybe they need an “opposing traffic does not stop” sign or something to the same effect there (if there isn’t one already).  Maybe we need someone to stand there, and hand out printed copies of instructions on how to navigate the intersection successfully …or even just a copy of this blog post.

Please, stop crowding forward when the tiny section of road gets backed up at that light in the morning.  Please, stop making faces at me and throwing your hands wildly into the air like I have wronged you in some way as I come up the hill around the bend to the left.  Please don’t cut me off as I’m waiting in the backed-up traffic to get to the light.  I don’t have a stop sign.  You do.  I didn’t cut you off.  I’m driving correctly, you’re an anus.

(We don’t use that word nearly enough.)

I’m pretty sure this is illegal. (Driving advice for horn-honking traffic trolls.)


I’m pretty sure this is illegal, but I see it happen all the time.  Can someone of authority weigh in on this?  Opinions are of course welcome, but if you’re going to claim why it’s legal/illegal… you have to give me some kind of backup.

Let me describe the scenario with the help of an illustration thanks to Paint.NET, Google Maps, & a Google image search

This is a dick-move.

This is a dick-move.

We’ll pretend I’m the blue car, behind the white truck, and in front of the little yellow bastard.

The white truck is trying to make a left at the light, only problem being (use your imagination here) a flurry of automobiles in the other 2 oncoming lanes coming forth with less than a car-length in between them, and at a speed well over the posted 25MPH limit.  (Never-mind that here the middle lane switches traffic directions depending on the time of day – that’s a whole different ridiculous issue.)

Of course, the truck is forced to stop in what I would like to consider the middle of the intersection, causing frustration to rise exponentially for each halted vehicle behind the pale horse of immobilization.

As the truck plays the waiting game, and I hone my skills with the Force trying to will a break in traffic to allow him (or her) to turn and more importantly get out of my way… the impatient arrogant bastard behind me decides to honk the horn.

Honking the horn when one is stuck in traffic is the action of a self-absorbed angry little person.  A honk is expected & appropriate if someone cuts you off, someone’s sitting at a green light, or backing into you.  A honk is inappropriate when everyone is stuck, & no one can go anywhere.

Now, I know this indignant troll of a human being wanted me to take the path of the green arrow above… which is a common Pittsburgh driving move.  I’m sure it happens elsewhere too, but it’s quite common around here.  I believe said move is not only illegal, but also quite dangerous.  I know passing on the shoulder is discouraged if not illegal, and doing it in the middle of an intersection isn’t the best idea.

It’s dangerous for the following reasons if you must know, traffic troll:

  • Someone in the inside oncoming lane could also be making a left, not see me coming around the side of the truck, and we plow right into each other.
  • The truck decides he’s (or she’s) had it with waiting to make a turn, and plows ahead in frustration as I move around & try to merge into that lane.
  • Someone from the road on the right may be coming to the intersection to make a legal right on red while it’s obvious that oncoming traffic is at a stand-still.
  • A final sequence, however unlikely… the light changes while I’m going around, and someone comes from the left straight through their way, and smacks into the side of me.

If you think of any other reasons why it’s a bad idea, please let me know.  If you can show me a link where the laws concerning such vehicular interactions reside online (especially for PA), I’d love to pass the link along to the honking trolls out there.

If you’re a traffic troll, I’d like to express to you that all you’re doing is putting the person in front of you in danger, as well as potentially yourself, and adding to the aggravation levels of everyone around you… when they’re already sufficiently aggravated.

This has been brought to you as a public service announcement warning against the dangers of traffic trolls.  I’m sure PennDOT and the State Police would get behind this if they read my blog.

You’re not a traffic troll, are you?