The noise on the street in Chennai is deafening. Everybody honks. Cars have a high-pitched beeping sound. Buses have a loud, deep bass. Trucks are melodious two- or three-tone sound. Auto rickshaws are like a party melody balloon. Even if you are not driving by yourself, never-ending beeps would annoy you, frustrate you and tire you – until you get used to it. The locals don’t seem to mind the noise. Then you will find an interesting sign or a sticker on the back of the trucks, reading “Please Horn.” Ha. So, not only they don’t mind the horn, but they rather want it!
Sound Horn – India
There are some varieties of the sign – “Sound Horn,” “Horn Please,” and “Horn Me.” If people want to get horned, why don’t we give them – a lot? The steering wheel of the car in India is made differently. The area to sound a horn is less hard and you can tap it easily with your thumb without moving your hand from the wheel. Honking is just a seemless part of the whole driving operation, like using the turn signal. For the past 5 minutes while I was wring this in the car, my driver honked 18 times (I counted!)
On Your Left – USA
In the United States, people honk the horn with hatred. That’s why I never thought anyone would want to be honked. The traffic jam on the beltway in Washington DC was filled with angry honking. While I lived in Nashville, Tennessee, I was honked only at a several occasions. People waved and smiled me more. Nashville is a nice place. When I was in Nashville, I used to run on a trail. Often times, when I was running slow, I was surprised by a passing runner shouting “on your left!” Although surprised, I found it a nice way of communication to let the other knows of your intended move (in this case, passing you on your left) to avoid any accident. You don’t warn them because you hate them. You warn them because you care for them. India’s “sound horn” basically works in the same way.
Excuse Me – Japan
By the way, this communication style may not work in Japan. Many foreigners get surprised (and probably annoyed, frustrated, and tired) in the packed subway, where the Japanese never say “excuse me” to let other passengers know he is getting off the train but simply push people around to make his way. The same is true for the runners. They say nothing but just pass you by, resulting in many runner-to-walker accidents.
You should not get annoyed by the deafning sound of the horn in Chennai. Rather, you should feel pleased, as the horn is a sign of caring.