When you think about it, our ability to communicate while driving is pretty limited.
We have an open palm to say, “Thank you.” We have a hand wave to say, “You go first.” And we have holding the steering wheel with our knees while eating a taco to say, “Don’t come near me” (not recommended). And that’s about it.
Sadly, most drivers have so much more on their minds. We think it’s high time someone pioneered some car technology that could finally bring open discourse to the open road: the talking car horn.
Though programming is still in the wouldn’t-it-be-nice? stage (scientists worldwide continue to ignore my emails about it), I can reveal the first 7 car horn sounds that no car on the market will be without.
Car horn sound: “I’m so sorry.”
Tone: sincere, apologetic
Programmed to sound like: someone who accidentally stepped on the dog and feels really bad about it
When to use it: after unintentionally cutting someone off; after not noticing that the light turned green; when blocking the crosswalk and forcing pedestrians to go around you
Variations for horn 2.0: a sarcastic version to use on tailgaters
Car horn sound: “Don’t even think about it!”
Tone: sassy, authoritative
Programmed to sound like: parents warning their kids not to lick the grocery cart handle
When to use it: when someone starts eyeing the parking space you’ve staked out for the last 3 minutes
Variations for horn 2.0: a rabid, psychopathic tone for use at select sports stadiums, Target, and Whole Foods
Car horn sound: “I’m not from around here, and I’m a little lost.”
Tone: explanatory, humble
Programmed to sound like: a GPS’s disheveled, disorganized cousin
When to use it: to respond to all the people honking at you for repeatedly circling the block at 6 mph
Variations for horn 2.0: a voice-accent feature that adapts to wherever you are and helps endear you to the locals
Car horn sound: “I’m so angry, I just want to make noise!”
Tone: frustrated, “Hulk Smash”-ish
Programmed to sound like: a big baby
When to use it: when the highway construction delay is too much to take quietly, but you want to make sure the poor guy in front of you knows it’s not personal
Variations for horn 2.0: the all-important silencer — let’s be honest, no one wants to hear your angry horn when they’re stuck in traffic
Car horn sound: “Yeah, hi, I’d like the number 4 with small fries and a 7Up.”
Tone: decisive, hungry
Programmed to sound like: you
When to use it: when ordering from the drive-thru and you’re stuck on the phone/your window suddenly jams up/you’re too engrossed in a Jane Austen audiobook to be interrupted … and you need the car to talk on your behalf
Variations for horn 2.0: the “Sure, Sierra Mist is fine” contingency response
Car horn sound: “Oh, that’s real mature.”
Tone: shaming, critical
Programmed to sound like: someone getting the silent treatment from his or her better half
When to use it: when trying to get to the exit ramp and someone won’t let you by; when drivers cut you off just to save a few feet; when you see someone texting and driving
Variations for horn 2.0: an extra-silent-treatment function (if the offending driver still won’t do what you want)
Car horn sound: “Look out world, here I come!”
Tone: excited, flashy
Programmed to sound like: a young, aspiring actor just off the bus in the big city
When to use it: every time you back out of your driveway (could there be a more delightful way to warn the neighborhood kids?)
Variations for horn 2.0: theme music
Do you have something you wish your car could get off your chest? Share a comment below.