Why Do Cars Honk At Pedestrians? (4 Main Reasons)

Nothing more than the alarming boom of a car’s horn can throw you off balance on your daily stroll.

Using a car horn often alerts you to danger or says, “get out of my way,” but what does it mean when a car honks at a pedestrian?

There are many different reasons why a car may honk at a pedestrian, and not all of them come with an immediate need for concern.

So, consider one of these common reasons next time you’re walking down the street and getting honked at.

1. They Are Trying to Be Funny

Running is a great way to get your body moving, which helps to calm you down and keep you in shape.

However, some drivers find throwing a runner off their tracks funny.

This is especially true if you are wearing headphones. It is recommended not to run with headphones at full volume since hearing is an important sense to use when trying to avoid danger.

Sometimes, a driver will honk at a runner wearing headphones to give them a startle.

Funny enough, this random annoyance has been happening to runners for ages.

The simple act of honking is much more innocent than how runners used to be treated by motorists.

Some motorists operate incorrectly, assuming that they own the road, which can cause aggravation when forced to share the road with cyclists and runners.

This led to several incidents of drivers honking and throwing things at runners to get them to move further away from the road. Not surprisingly, this led to an increase in runners getting hurt.

Even something as seemingly innocent as honking your horn at a runner can cause them to lose focus and balance, which in turn can even cause an injury.

2. They Are Trying to Alert You to Danger

A major reason why someone is honking at a pedestrian is that they may not be aware that they are about to put themselves in a dangerous situation.

For example, if a pedestrian is about to step off of a curb while the car traffic currently has the right of way, a driver may honk at you to let you know that you need to pay attention to what is going on around you.

In these cases, it shouldn’t be seen as an annoyance that the driver is honking at you because they might be about to prevent you from getting hurt.

However, they might not be trying to warn just you.

The driver may also be trying to get the attention of another driver who isn’t aware that a pedestrian has entered a crosswalk.

This is done in an attempt to warn both the driver and the pedestrian of a potential accident.

3. The Driver Thinks You’re Cute

Catcalling is much more than a little annoyance that most women encounter while they are out for a walk or a job.

Drivers honking at people that they find attractive as a way to get their attention is nothing new.

Most of the time, these honks are followed by a series of pick-up lines or even compliments to show their romantic interest.

More often than not, a pedestrian simply trying to go about their life finds these types of random expressions of attractions as an absolute nuisance.

In fact, these days, this type of “catcalling” can be considered to be sexual harassment, and even in some states, it can be punishable by law.

For example, in Illinois, honking and calling out to someone from a car in order to get their attention for romantic needs can result in the driver getting a sexual harassment charge.

This charge can be met with a hefty fine and even jail time if the pedestrian proves that aggression was used.

4. The Driver Wants You to Pick Up the Pace

While most of the time, humans tend to have some sort of patience, not everyone is built the same.

Even the most well-meaning people have bad days too. One thing that can really test a driver’s patience is waiting on someone walking through the crosswalk at an unusually slow pace.

While this is most commonly seen in the elderly, who naturally take more time crossing the road, distracted pedestrians can also slow down traffic flow.

For example, a pedestrian who is focused on whatever is happening on their phone while crossing a crosswalk may not even be aware that they are moving slowly. But is this really a good excuse for laying on the horn?

According to most regulations, a pedestrian should cross when the signal prompts them to and should do their best to make it to the other side before the signal changes.

Often times this signal is paired with a countdown letting the pedestrian know just how much time they have until the signal changes.

Even if the timer has run out, motorists must wait until any pedestrian has made it to the other side and the crosswalk is completely cleared before they can step off the brake and start moving again.

So, if a pedestrian is still in the crosswalk when it is the car’s turn to move, the driver may honk at them to motivate them to move along faster.


Driving Rules: When Should You Use a Car Horn?

Mind Your Honking Manners

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