The Importance of Your Car’s Horn: When and How to Use It

Jan 2, 2020

The Importance of Your Car’s Horn: When and How to Use It

Rule 112 of the Highway Code is very clear on the purpose of your car’s horn, and states when and how you should be using it. In short, they are only there to warn another road user of your presence. They are not to be used as a greeting or as an expression of annoyance.

Let’s elaborate on when and how to use your car’s horn, here are some examples. It is appropriate to beep as you come to a blind bend on a single-track road, as it will let other drivers approaching from the opposite direction know that you are there and to give way. Equally, if a car starts to reverse towards you, it is acceptable to beep to alert them to danger.

When you feel as if you’ve been cut up on the road, or someone pulls out in front of you without leaving enough of a gap, it might still be acceptable to beep. Afterall, their actions are putting you in danger! If you’re in a driver’s blind spot, alert them to your presence. It can be very frustrating but alerting them of your presence is okay as they’re putting you in danger.

It is not permitted to use the horn to simply vent your anger. If a vehicle is lane hogging, beeping your horn is going to encourage road rage rather than a productive outcome.

When you should not use your car horn

  • At night in built-up areas – You’re not supposed to use your horn on a restricted road or during the hours of 11.30 pm and 7 am. Using your horn during these hours is considered antisocial and will disturb individuals trying to sleep. Restricted roads are those in a built-up area, with streetlights and a 30mph speed limit.
  • When you’re stopped – The Highway Code prohibits stationary vehicles from using their horn, so if you’re stopped, do not sound your horn.

Exceptions to the rules

If there is a real danger present, of course, you can honk your horn to alert other road users of potential danger and ignore the above restrictions.

Consequences of using your car horn illegally

If you’re found to be using your car horn illegally, you will face a fixed penalty notice of £30 which can rise to £1000 if disputed and taken to court. Is it really worth it? The sudden loud noise can end up doing more harm than good.

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