If ever you were to go abroad, especially in the Gulf countries or to the European nations, you tend to notice many people, both young and old sitting outside in their balconies or porches, despite being just alongside the road or highway. But when you look around in India, people tend to choose to shut the doors and windows facing even a main road. Why? Well the answer is pretty obvious. Noise pollution.
However I speak not of the noise the vehicle itself may produce as some vehicles have their typical grunts and groans due to their engines and their silencers for which they are sought for, rather I am talking about the noise the vehicle handler makes while on the road, by honking. Horns definitely are somewhat of a necessity in driving a vehicle in any country, for example you need to honk while you are reversing the car out of the garage, honk while you are overtaking another vehicle, honk before taking a turn and likewise. But In India, you also need to honk to say hi, honk to say bye, honk when you’re alone on a deserted road and most importantly honk when the traffic light turns green. It has become such a habit that if the vehicles horn is damaged or dysfunctional, drivers here will immediately go get it fixed on the same day or at the most the day after that. While if it was any other part of the vehicle that went haywire, but the vehicle is still rolling, then they would simply ignore it until something seriously goes wrong or go weeks later at the earliest.
It is mandatory in many countries that unless the vehicle in front of you is not moving for over 30 seconds or is coming far too close to your vehicle, only then can you give a single honk to alert the driver ahead. On any other instance to signal the driver ahead, it is advised to flick the headlights, and then honk if necessary and people actually follow the rules. In India though it is written behind vehicles “please use horn” or more commonly “horn OK please”, and the driver reading this will be more than happy to use the chance to honk the vehicle out of his path. If the same people by any chance go abroad and drive a vehicle there, they will surely get into quite a bit of trouble and heated scenarios, every time they drive!
I believe that there ought to be a rule (or if possible a tax!) for honking more than a certain amount of times in a day or on driving a certain distance. Perhaps then people would honk less. People usually understand that it is not necessary to honk right when the light goes green, but when on the road they usually do it more out of habit or impatience than necessity.
So probably a point to bear in mind next time we drive a vehicle, one should try and challenge oneself on how long they can drive without honking, and then challenge a friend to beat your record, and hopefully reduce the amount of noise pollution plaguing our land due to the excessive honking.
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