WHY HORNS EXIST & HOW THEY ARE USED

Why we have horns:

The Department of Transportation considers horns critical for safety and warning purposes. Therefore, horns are required in every vehicle.

How they are used:

Over 80% of surveyed drivers use their horn as a form of communication rather than warning. In other words, horns are most often used in non-critical situations – like alerting a distracted driver that the light is green, or getting the attention of kids when picking them up from school.

What perceptions they give:

Current car horns are aggressive and monotone – the horn sound is the same, no matter what the driver is using it for. This means horns are ineffective in dangerous situations. They’re like the boy who cried wolf -- how can we tell the difference between a horn sound being used for a benign reason, and one that’s signaling real danger?

We have horns because they're required, but what real purpose do they serve? Is this the best that can be done? 

At Meerya, we think otherwise...

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THE NEED FOR CHANGE

In a survey of over 100 participants, we asked them to describe their horn in a word. The top three words were: aggressive, monotone, and loud. Strangely, less than 5% described their horn as "critical" or "life-saving.”

 

Clearly, there’s a big gap between why we have horns and how they are actually used. An aggressive and monotone device makes it impossible for someone who hears it to determine when a situation is dire, or when a driver just wants to grab someone's attention – for example, to alert a distracted driver that the light has turned green. Your horn doesn't do a good job at warning because of the lack of versatility in its sound, and the increase in distraction and aggression. But consider:

  • Roughly 1.3 million people die each year on the road globally

  • Over 6,500 pedestrians in the U.S. were killed in 2019 due to vehicle related crashes, which is a 30-year high and an increase of over 50% compared to 2009.

  • Noise pollution is a growing problem, especially in larger cities and in countries like India and China