20th April 2022

Sounding your horn – do you know the rules?

Research commissioned by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart suggests that one in four of the 1000 drivers surveyed admitted they would use their horn if a motorist was driving too slow in front of them. Around 20% also said they have used their horn at learner drivers.

According to the Highway Code, you should only use your horn when your car is moving and when you need to warn other road users of your presence. In keeping with the law, motorists mustn’t use their horn aggressively because it is not a device to draw attention of other road users without reasonable intention. Another rule that may not be well known; it is also illegal to use your horn in a built-up area between 11.30pm and 7.00am.

The police are able to issue non-endorsable fixed penalty notices (FPN) of £30 for these offences. A driver can challenge the decision in court, but if magistrates agree with the police, they have jurisdiction to increase the penalty to up to £1000.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Most drivers know the rules of the road when it comes to wearing a seatbelt or using a mobile phone. However, some lesser-known wrong doings, such as inappropriately sounding your horn, can also lead to serious consequences such as fines. These fines will set motorists back financially in a time when many are seriously feeling the cost-of-living squeeze.

“Most importantly, not only are drivers running the risk of being faced with a hefty fine, but they could also be seriously risking their own, as well as other road users’ personal safety. Sounding your car’s horn aggressively or at an inappropriate time can seriously panic other road users, leading them to make rushed and risky decisions. You never know how another driver might react to such a challenge, so why risk confrontation on our already congested roads? Rather than being eager to sound your horn, we would urge motorists to keep calm and motor on!”

What are your thoughts on using your horn on the road? Did you know about the fines for using your horn inappropriately?

Our neighbours keep pipping their horn when they return home, not just a little pip but constantly for a couple of minutes, we know that they are doing this to annoy us , if it was to let somebody in there home know that they are home and come out to open gate I would get it, but no it’s definitely to annoy us. Is there anything we can do about this??

Kazza, 22/07/2023

knew some of it but not other parts but I think patience and a bit of common sense and courtesy would help a lot.

don't have one, 25/04/2022

It’s pretty common to use your horn when stationary at traffic lights when the person in front hasn’t noticed the lights have changed to green. I think that is a valid use even though you are not moving.

Beckenham Bob, 24/04/2022