Driving with Jens: Is horn honking really necessary when locking your car?

The noise from unnecessary honking of your horn aggravates your neighbours and others

A lot of the topics for my articles come from people who reach out through my Driving with Jens Facebook page, email or sometimes in person. Recently a very nice lady named Dorthey stopped by my work and asked if I could do an article about the unnecessary honking of car horns when locking your vehicle.

The electric car horn we know today was developed by Oliver Lucas in Birmingham back in around 1910. The purpose of the car horn, then and now, is to warn others of your approach or presence, or to call attention to a hazard of some kind.

The technology in vehicles has obviously changed a lot over the years, and somehow the noise used as a warning became the same noise used to notify you that you’re locking your vehicle. Seems a little absurd when you think about it.

Most people probably don’t think about it, but the noise from unnecessary honking of your horn aggravates your neighbours and other people in parking lots. It happens every time you double-click your key fob just to be sure your vehicle is locked. After it was brought to my attention, I realized that I was doing it all the time, and it was obliviously annoying other people by the looks I was getting. I was totally unaware of how disrespectful I was being.

Noise pollution is something we should all consider and care about. The collective effect of all vehicles in our neighborhoods and communities produces an overwhelming amount of environmental noise pollution. This anxiety-producing noise is unnecessary and desensitizes people to the honks alerting possible dangers.

There may even be fines for the behavior. The Yukon Motors Vehicles website lists a possible fine of $75 for vehicle noise unduly disturbing residents in municipality between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. There may be other possible fines for unnecessarily using your horn.

Some honks may be un unavoidable. On newer vehicles, it will likely signal you with a honk if you have left a door open or left the vehicle running. In the winter a lot of people leave their vehicle running while they run into the store. Many people will also leave the vehicle running with the air conditioning on in the summer if they have left a pet in the vehicle.

The honks alerting us that we have locked the doors that is caused by double-clicking the fob are completely avoidable.

The first way to avoid this unnecessary noise is to get in the habit of pushing the lock button on the door as you exit. This is a relatively easy habit to get into if you focus on it.

The other way is to silence the horn beep feature on your key fob remote. It’s not difficult to do this. Your car is set by default to honk the horn when you lock your doors with the remote fob. However, you can change this if you prefer. Every vehicle made with the “honk when locked” feature can be programmed out by the owner or the dealer.

On some newer vehicles this may be a setting on the dash or instrument panel. Check your owner’s manual or play around with the controls until you find the setting.

On lots of cars you may also be able to do it on the fob itself.

To deactivate the horn honk feature, you could try pressing both the lock and unlock buttons on your remote for two seconds. Watch for the hazard lights to flash three times. Lock the doors and confirm that the horn does not sound.

If you want to reactivate the horn honk feature you could trying pressing and hold both the lock and unlock buttons on the remote for at least two seconds. Watch for the hazard lights to flash once. The horn should honk one time.

Turning off the horn honking feature does not affect the panic alarm function or vehicle’s security system. Your vehicle should still notify you if you left a door open or the lights on.

As always, the goal is for us all to be respectful of one another and drive defensively on the roads. We all want to get where we are going safety and we all want to return home to our families safely. We should also be respectful of those around us that are affected by our other behaviour. This would include being careful to reduce unnecessary environmental noise pollution.

I have made a commitment to myself to change my habits and encourage you to as well.

Catch Driving, with Jens on CHON FM Thursdays at 8:15. If you have any questions or comments you can reach out to Jens Nielsen at drivingwithjens@gmail.com, Facebook or Twitter: @drivingwithjens.

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