Honking: Impatience at its worst  

Asjadul Kibria     | Published: March 01, 2019 22:31:22 | Updated: March 23, 2019 12:51:56

If a foreigner is asked about his or her some unique takeaway from Bangladesh, it is not unlikely that the answer would include horns of transports in roads and streets. No matter who they are, all men and women at the steering believe honking is more important than pressing the brakes. It becomes an unavoidable and must habit of all the motorists in this country.

The main necessity of horn is to alert nearby vehicles and pedestrians and thus avoid possible collision and accident. It is an alternative to avoid altercation. But in Bangladesh it has already gone beyond the basic necessity. Rather, it gives Bangladeshi drivers the impetus to somehow move ahead.  

Again, it is not only about impatient drivers but also overall mismanagement of the country's traffic system. Unruliness on roads and streets by all type of motor and non-motor vehicles as well as jay walking of many pedestrians turn things worse. Traffic signals work little here and sometime it becomes impossible for the traffic police to control the movement smoothly. The traffic authority itself becomes inefficient due to inadequate number of manpower, lack of cooperation from relevant agencies and corruption. As a result, honking horns is on the rise.

A series of studies have already confirmed the bad effects of sound pollution.  Every year a large number of people in different ages are suffering from headache to loss of hearing. Louder hydraulic horns even cause abortion to pregnant women.  Who knows, how many babies are born in the country with hearing problem due to continuous honking on roads. Students, professionals and workers are gradually paying for outrageous honking. 

Though horn producing more than 75 decibels of sound is banned in Bangladesh, it is seldom complied with. Horns in most of the vehicles are louder and adding to sound pollution.  Following the High Court order, the traffic department launched a drive against hydraulic horns. But the outcome is not satisfactory as the drive was scattered and partial.

Moreover, honking horns has also become an alternative to ventilating anger and disappointment. Everyday traffic congestions in Dhaka are compelling commuters and drivers to spend limitless time on roads.  Failure to reach desired destinations in time is frequent and enough to create frustration. This also adds to already stressful minds. By honking without caring about others many people try to ventilate their irritation. Again, some people are always in a hurry and choose honking to demonstrate their businesses. A large number of motor bikers notoriously do this every day creating public nonsense. Ambulances make the matter worse by the wailing sound they produce.

In fact, unnecessary honking clearly reflects impatience and also insensitivity to other people. It is also a reflection of bad culture and lack of proper education. While drivers have some valid argument in favour of their honking, these don't justify honking all the time.  As Bangladeshis are forced to live and move with aggressive honking on a daily basis, they are also forced to compromise their physical and mental conditions in the long run.


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