A car horn is intended for safety, not to bully other people on the road. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

A car horn is intended for safety, not to bully other people on the road. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Column: Car horns are for public safety, not bullying others out of your way

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

I think it’s generally understood and accepted that we all make mistakes.

Unfortunately, those mistakes sometimes occur when we’re behind the steering wheel.

I’m going to hazard a guess that most mistakes made while on the road are little things – a forgotten turning signal or a missed shoulder check – that largely go unnoticed and are without consequence. I’m also sure many people have seen or been that driver who makes a mistake that is thankfully noticed by others and results only in embarrassment and an awkward shoulder shrug and/or hand gesture, possibly accompanied by a silent but visibly mouthed apology.

Unfortunately, mistakes are also made that result in regrettable consequences.

Sometimes, though, drivers do things that simply cannot be construed as a mistake, actions that appear intentional and put others at risk.

I recently witnessed an example of this at the Highway 1 and 10th Street SW intersection in Salmon Arm. Two vehicles were attempting to turn left off the highway from the eastbound turning lane. Both were in the intersection, the driver in front waiting for a break in westbound traffic.The driver behind apparently got tired of waiting and began laying on his horn, giving long three-to-four second bullying blasts.

I happened to be standing at the intersection and could see the honking driver maybe couldn’t see the oncoming westbound traffic due to vehicles lined up in the westbound turning lane. Regardless, prompted by the honking, the vehicle ahead began moving forward. I watched as an approaching westbound vehicle began to swerve out of the way. Thankfully, the driver in the first turning vehicle reapplied their brakes in time. Moments later, both vehicles were able to move safely out of the intersection.

When I returned to the office and shared what I’d just seen with my co-worker, she described a similar situation witnessed at the same intersection.

I know people can become different animals when they get behind the wheel. But I couldn’t get over the self-absorbed, dangerous display of driving I had just seen. In my mind, this was a high-risk driving behaviour, the kind that increases chances of collision, and at Salmon Arm’s third-worst intersection for vehicle crashes (according to ICBC statistics for 2017 to 2021).

I don’t doubt many of you have seen far worse displays of high-risk behaviour on the highway in the Shuswap. And other than enforcement, I don’t know what else can be done to curb it.

I’ve heard driving instructors and RCMP officers implore drivers to be patient, especially during the summer when there are many more people sharing the road. Honking your horn at others out of impatience or anger can have regrettable consequences.

Read more: Motorists urged to watch for hazards after rollerblader falls onto Highway 1 in Salmon Arm

Read more:Shuswap tow truck operator sees high number of collisions this summer

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sign up for our newsletter to get Salmon Arm stories in your inbox every morning.

#Salmon ArmDriving