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.

Related link

5 sounds my hybrid should make

Travel hacks


about Alex

As copywriter for Esurance, Alex had professional experience in everything from film to literature to (thanklessly!) correcting the grammar in friends' emails. As a fervent Minnesota sports fan, he spends most of his non-writing time gently weeping into cereal bowls.