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Survey on car horn use finds 48 per cent of Canadians have felt unsafe or agitated due to honking

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 2018-09-20 Alexandra Jones - Staff Reporter,Marjan Asadullah Staff Reporter
a person taking a selfie in a car: A survey by Kanetix.ca shows car horns have made 48 per cent of Canadians feeling agitated or unsafe. © Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited A survey by Kanetix.ca shows car horns have made 48 per cent of Canadians feeling agitated or unsafe.

A new survey says almost half of Canadians have felt agitated or unsafe on the roads due to drivers’ car horn use.

The survey run by insurance comparison site Kanetix.ca and released Tuesday asked more than 1,100 Canadian drivers how they interact with and respond to hearing car horns while they’re either operating a vehicle or travelling near one.

The study found male drivers are slightly more likely to use their car horn compared to female drivers, at 48 per cent vs. 45 per cent. As for the main reasons given, 46 per cent of those surveyed said they use the horn in response to being cut off or to warn of dangerous driving and 17 per cent say they use it when drivers are not paying attention to traffic light changes. Eight per cent said they honk to say hello.

“Car horn honking by Canadian drivers occurs too often,” said Janine White, vice-president of marketplaces and strategy at Kanetix.ca, in a release. “Drivers are quick to react to traffic-related issues by aggressively blasting their horn. What many drivers don’t realize however, is that there’s a time and a place for horn honking, and misuse can put others — pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers — potentially in harm’s way.”

The survey also found 34 per cent of Canadians were in favour of issuing fines of up to $350 for illegal use of the car horn.

According to the Official Ministry of Transportation of Ontario Handbook, the horn should be used when drivers feel threatened by another driver to attract other drivers’ attention and avoid threats or accidents from occurring; or to warn away an animal.

The survey was meant to encourage drivers to be mindful of their responsibilities with the car horn, according to Kanetix.ca, and to avoid collisions that can result from their frustration in traffic.

“If (drivers) are in a situation where they feel threatened by another driver’s dangerous driving behaviour, then to ensure their safety and the safety of others, a horn honk is warranted,” White said in an interview. “But if the purpose of their horn honk is out of rage or impatience, then it is important for them to take a moment and realize that waiting an extra three seconds at a traffic light is much better than startling another driver to the point of potentially causing an accident.”

Alexandra Jones is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star's radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandraMaeJ

Marjan Asadullah is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star's radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @marjanasadullah

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