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Old 6th June 2013, 07:18   #16
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

A little bit of an outsiders perspective to the Indian honking. We've been living in India, Delhi now for almost a year. Most of my driving is in Delhi and usually one or two days a week in Mumbai. I'm in a car every single day of the week. My wife and I have been travelling quite a bit to other parts and towns of India as well.

I don't drive myself, Company policy dictates company car + driver for all our non-Indian employees, irrespective of who you are or your position.

I have obtained my Indian motor bike license though! . And I've got myself a 1975 Royal Enfield 350 Bullet which I do drive myself around Delhi. Mostly during the weekend.

I have lived and worked on all continents in dozens of different countries, but the honking is very specific to India. In particular to places such as Delhi and Mumbai. In smaller towns and more rural areas / smaller towns we found honking is a whole lot less. E.g. Lucknow, Kerala, Goa. Traffic is much less hectic too, so there might be a correlation.

I've read the comments in this thread about honking for bikes, whilst overtaking, for trucks etc. My experience is that in Delhi and Mumbai just about every driver honks at everything, all the time.

And as far as I can tell, it is completely ineffective. Nobody takes the slightest bit of notice either I think. Partly because it's near impossible to figure out who honks at whom for what and I suspect partly because my impression is Indians only seem to be caring about themselves, so why take notice of someone who honks at you? As long as you're in front of the loser behind you, why bother? Honk at the guy in front of you. Even though he might not be able to move over, just honk!

A few examples: For those who are familiar with it; the pick up place at the domestic airport in Mumbai. It's a fairly narrow driveway. Every single car is there for one purpose only; to pick up somebody. So everybody will need to stop, it's narrow, there is luggage to be put on rooftops, load in the boot etc.

As soon as any driver stops to let somebody in, everybody else will immediately start honking at him/her. 45 seconds later the passengers will be seated, the luggage will be loaded, the car will pull away and the one of the cars that was honking all the time, will pull in the exact same spot, stop to let passengers in etc. And will get honked at by the cars behind him/her, who already know they will be doing the exact same thing within the next few minutes.

Another example; a few weeks ago my wife and I found ourselves on a Sunday morning travelling east from Delhi on the AH2. All around Ghaziabad it is extremely busy and narrow. Essentially single file traffic, bumper to bumper for mile after mile. And just about every car keeps honking? Why, nobody can go anywhere, everybody was crawling, I just don't get it, honking doesn't serve any purpose under those conditions.

So I think honking the Indian way is for some reason, a true Indian phenomena, especially in the big cities. I have not come across it in any other country I've been to.

To me it appears to be completely ineffective, nobody takes any notice of anybody else in any way, honking or not. But as some members point out, it does and must stress out a fair number of people on the road.

So most of the time we just laugh it off and sometimes it does stress us out.
But to us it is ultemately the pleasure of living abroad, even though it doesnt make any sense!

http://www.india.jeroendorrestein.co...i_traffic.html

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 6th June 2013 at 07:21. Reason: edit
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Old 6th June 2013, 08:07   #17
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

@Jeroen, an interesting observation. Last month when I had the opportunity to drive our foreign consultant around (it was less than a km and in Mindspace area, not much of a public road), he (part sarcastically) remarked that I didn't use the horn. So for the few metres of the busy Link Road that we covered I showed off my honking skills at the autorickshaws parked at the entrance to the mall.

Your observation about the honking being specific to Mumbai at least seems to be accurate (I have no experience of Delhi), and outside Mumbai, specially in far-flung areas people seem to be more patient/tolerant.

In Mumbai, people are always in a rush. The slightest delay means you will be late for work, late for your flight, late to claim the only remaining parking spot at the office and so many other perils. I am sure there are people who even time their travel in sync with the traffic lights.

Also if you observe the local traffic, you will find there's hardly any civic sense at all. The autos and cabs, the buses and even the private vehicles are parked and stopped and started at will (of the respective driver). The only way to vent out your irritation then is to honk.

I see countless examples of such indiscipline every day. A large public transport bus hogging the right lane just to suddenly switch to the left lane and make a stop in such a way that it now hogs both the lanes, an auto driving merrily along and suddenly stopping in its tracks to pick up a passenger, no signals, no pulling into the left lane, all without any regard to the peril he exposes himself and his passengers to.
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Old 6th June 2013, 11:16   #18
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Originally Posted by honeybee View Post

In Mumbai, people are always in a rush. The slightest delay means you will be late for work, late for your flight, late to claim the only remaining parking spot at the office and so many other perils. I am sure there are people who even time their travel in sync with the traffic lights.

o.
Too true. Over the years I have must have clocked a millionbillionzillion air miles flying with just about every airline in the world. Never, ever had I missed my flight. That was until a few weeks ago. I got stuck in Mumbai traffic, the last 2 miles to the airport took nearly two hours!

Problem is, now I tend to arrive way to early at the airport, because it is just near impossible to guess travel time. And, really the domestic terminal in Mumbai is not that nice a place to have to spend several hours. Ive been to much worse, but Im in Mumbai every week now.

Jeroen
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Old 7th June 2013, 10:43   #19
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
In particular to places such as Delhi and Mumbai. In smaller towns and more rural areas / smaller towns we found honking is a whole lot less. E.g. Lucknow, Kerala, Goa. Traffic is much less hectic too, so there might be a correlation.
I will agree to the correlation. Also I think in urban places with very high traffic, there are more of cab drivers (who are usually uneducated) have higher tendencies to honk to make way and squeeze their Innovas & Tavera into whatever places they find. DLF Cybercity in Gurgaon to NH8 road is an example for this.

As others have already mentioned, its almost an unwritten fact that you cannot drive in India safely without honking. I think educated people tend to honk more responsibly.

More irritating than unnecessary honking is Blaring Siren of Self Proclaimed VIPs. They will just keep the siren on even when they know the traffic is not moving
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Old 7th June 2013, 12:10   #20
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

I agree with most of the people here that honking has become a way to protect yourself and your car, especially in Bangalore. Consider the below three scenarios that I face every day, to and fro work. I consciously try to reduce the honking but I am forced to do so, only to end up feeling guilty at the end of the trip.

1) The most frequent example is the Bangalore City Buses: Let it be any kind of road, single lane, two lane or even the outer ring road. They 'sway' around on the road moving from the right to the left (before a bus stop) and left to right (after the bus stop), completely ignoring the traffic behind them. In multiple occasions, I have been cornered, even if I was sticking to my lane all through. The only way to avoid this, is to make sure you honk whenever you are next to a bus.
2) Wrong lane selection: This also happens very frequently. Not just wrong lane according to speed, but also wrong lane at intersections. Every time I stop at one particular intersection, I choose the middle lane as I know that the signal timing is different for the left, straight and right goers. But everyday, right at the intersection, people are trying to squeeze in and it becomes very important to honk repeatedly to mark your presence as well as to indicate your right of way.
3) Turning at blind corners: As someone already mentioned here, people somehow tend to think that it is their right when it comes to over-taking in blind corners at crazy speeds. After a few bad experiences, I make sure I honk at every blind corner (even if I am crawling to take the turn).

I always wonder what it would take to get to a day when honking is very rare on our roads.
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Old 7th June 2013, 20:23   #21
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

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Every time I have decided not to honk, I have been cussed by people around me. Especially the pedestrians (walking like in a park with mobile phones) and two wheelers with both ear cavities plugged with thundering earphones snaking and meandering on the road like FIM racers. And of course how can I forget our beloved bugs on the road: Autorickshaws!

होरण नहीं है क्या? अंधे!

Though No horn policy is a noble gesture, it has not much application in our daily cut throat lives. (just like non-violence doesn't work anywhere). The might is always right, and the first step towards proclaiming your bellicose intentions is a war cry. The horn, is a means of this war cry! - Since my car horn is kaput, I know what it is to be on the receiving end (nicks, cuts, bruises).

Its like just any other thing in life: people will take advantage of you if you don't register a protest, or don't turn aggressive.
I totally agree. Driving to the local market one day, A biker swayed into my car hitting my Left mirror. He was the one that changed the lane, I was simply driving. Yet, his first question "Why did you not honk when you saw me riding next to you ? " I was amused and surprised, a straight road , 2 lanes and I honk just to anticipate your killer moves !
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Old 7th June 2013, 21:32   #22
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
....
To me it appears to be completely ineffective, nobody takes any notice of anybody else in any way, honking or not. But as some members point out, it does and must stress out a fair number of people on the road.

....

Jeroen
I absolutely agree with the point that it is completely ineffective and still everybody does it. Many drivers honk and "make the traffic lights turn green" and then look proudly at other fools who did not honk, many of them honk at mid night in a barren road to make sure nobody ever dares to block him and then there are folks who announces his grand arrival by honking, like the water tankers and other trucks which incidentally has an even louder engine.

I am driving in Bangalore for more than 12 years and have NEVER EVER used horn while driving in the city in the last 3 years. It is absolutely possible to drive without honking. 95% of the time it is just a matter of showing about 0.5 seconds of patience. Any measure or initiative to reduce honking is definitely welcome.

Last edited by vasoo : 7th June 2013 at 21:41.
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Old 7th June 2013, 21:37   #23
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

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Any measure or initiative to reduce honking is definitely welcome.
You Sir, are a true gentleman!
Thank you

Jeroen
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Old 8th June 2013, 01:05   #24
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

The most irritating honking habit is when someones car gets stalled, maybe due to wrong gear or a starter problem,the car behind would honk incessantly as if they are commuting emergency patients amda a second delay is not permissible. The driver of the stalled car gets nervous in the process and it adds to the chaos.

Nowadays I just keep sitting doing nothing in such situations until the honking maniac stops out of frustration.I calmly drive away after he stops. Once there was this scorpio honking incessantly bhind me when my car stoppped as I forgot to depress the clutch.I just sat there doing nothing until the driver of the scorpio came off his car. I simply drove away as soon as he stepped down...leaving an array of cars honking behind him.,taste your own music.
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Old 8th June 2013, 06:07   #25
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

If there is a way to arrive at a magical number then horns should come up with a daily limit and counter should reduce each time you honk. When its a limited resource one might use it judiciously.
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Old 8th June 2013, 07:47   #26
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

I am sure most people in our country cannot simply comprehend how to drive without honking. And I will include my family in there too. I get a lot of stick from my wife and my folks for not honking enough when I drive them around.

I have a narrow road in front of our house and I see a lot of guys speeding with their horns blaring out. Its as if like honking is their insurance to drive with no care. And the excuse if they are too hot to handle a situation is that he/ she honked to warn others.

Maybe the best solution is to make the engine power the horn and let people know honking will affect the car's FE.
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Old 8th June 2013, 10:35   #27
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

Interestingly enough, my (company) driver rarely honks. And he gets us everywhere as quickly as possible with the minimum of fuss and in great comfort.

Proper "chauffeur". He has this uncanny knack of always positioning the car in the lanes that progresses the fastest.

Some of our (company) drivers are out there with the worst of the cabbies when it comes to honking. But you really don't have too. My driver hardly does it and he has an excellent safety record with us.

Jeroen
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Old 8th June 2013, 12:31   #28
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

Good thread! Honking is a necessary evil for Indian roads keeping into mind that idiots are on the prowl on each and every nook and corner of Indian roads.

I think the intent of this thread it emphasize on minimal honking. As mentioned by someone, I would rather honk when overtaking an auto, bike, etc. rather than getting into some sticky situations. Traffic sense is hard to find in most of drivers/riders. Now again, when I mentioned 'I would rather honk', it only means making your presence aware to the ones you are overtaking, not the prolonged honks which is extremely frustrating.

This thread is a must reads for Honking coolies

1. Who would start pestering immediately after the red becomes green.
2. Who honk from behind when there is already a car in front of you ( I simply do not understand why they honk. There is no way they can speed past & reach their destination even if they overtake me.)
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Old 8th June 2013, 13:19   #29
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

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Interestingly enough, my (company) driver rarely honks. And he gets us everywhere as quickly as possible with the minimum of fuss and in great comfort.

Proper "chauffeur". He has this uncanny knack of always positioning the car in the lanes that progresses the fastest.

Some of our (company) drivers are out there with the worst of the cabbies when it comes to honking. But you really don't have too. My driver hardly does it and he has an excellent safety record with us.

Jeroen
I would love to learn the art from your driver, if he can teach me! It's a skill I have tried to acquire, but so far I have failed. (I mean the skill of not honking).
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Old 8th June 2013, 13:44   #30
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Default Re: Excessive Honking? Here's a "bleep" to kick the habit

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He has this uncanny knack of always positioning the car in the lanes that progresses the fastest.


Jeroen
I would love to learn this trick. Somehow i inevitably end up in the slowest lane always. Even after changing lanes,the one that was progressing fastest becomes the slowest.
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