Why honking your car horn could land you with a £1,000 fine

Why honking your car horn could land you with a £1,000 fine

Beep, beep! Car horns are a sound you hear in every congested town or city – but most drivers are unaware that if they break the law around honking their hooter they could be hot hard in the pocket.

The laws around illegal use of car horns aren’t new, but recent studies have shown that the vast majority of motorists are completely unaware of the rules, or of the fact they could be fined up to £1,000 if they use their horn inappropriately. Here’s all you need to know about using your horn legally.

When am I supposed to use my horn?

The car horn has one purpose, and one alone. To warn other road users of your presence.

Circumstances where you can use it are, for example, if another vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian looks like they’re about to come into your path and haven’t seen you, or when driving on narrow country roads where you’re unable to see around corners or over crests, to warn motorists out of your sight that you are approaching.

But there are a number of times when hooting your horn is illegal, and in the most extreme circumstances you can be fined £1,000, or possibly even be arrested and charged if inappropriate use of your horn leads to an accident.

Here are some examples of when you can’t use it.

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At night

The law states that you can’t use your horn between the hours of 11.30pm and 7.00am. This is considered anti-social behaviour, and the only exception is if you’re in danger and trying to attract attention.

If you pull up outside someone’s house and toot your horn to let them know you’re outside within these hours, for example, you’re likely to land a £30 fixed penalty.

In anger

By far the biggest misuse of a car horn is when it is used to vent your frustration at other motorists, who have done something to make you feel aggrieved.

Blasting your horn at someone who pulls out in front of you, or who gets in your way, is considered to be aggressive and akin to road rage, and if you’re spotted by the police than you won’t get off lightly. Deliberately trying to upset another motorist is dangerous, and the police don’t think twice about prosecuting. You’ll be fined

£1,000, with little leniency – even if it was the other driver who committed a traffic infringement.

When stationary

Believe it or not, the law say you can’t use your vehicle horn when stationary – the only exception being to warn another moving vehicle of your presence. For example, if it starts rolling backwards from a hill start.

‘Stationary’ in this context means when parked, but also when sitting in traffic, or pulling up outside someone’s house to let them know you’re there.

As a greeting

Beeping your horn in a car park or street to say hello to a friend or family member, or while waving goodbye to friends, could get you a £30 fixed penalty – even if you’re just being friendly…

What about my car alarm?

Technically, if your car alarm sounds the vehicle’s horn and does so at an inappropriate hour, then unless your car has been subject to an attempted theft or break-in,

you’re committing an infringement. It’s a difficult one to police, but the law is the law, and this is the rule…

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