Ruth Spencer sounds off on car horns
In South Korea, tooting is a problem. It’s not all the kimchi that’s to blame, but rather the use and abuse of car horns. In an attempt to lessen the din, Seoul researchers set out to discover the perfect honk, a sound to alert drivers without undue offence to the ear. After trying 100 sounds on a group of volunteers, which you’ll notice is the same rigorous scientific method used to get the answers on Family Feud, they settled on the sound of a duck quacking. Which begs the question, what even is science? Here are five better suggestions for the klaxon — or quaxon — of the future.
It’s rural, its rustic and it feels like home. only is the bleat of a sheep a startling so in an urban setting, but it carries with it little bit of insult. Errant cars do move li idiotic sheep, getting stuck in the middle o intersections or off in a woolly dream when the lights change. A resounding Baa would tell them to get the flock out of the way. We wouldn’t even have to get sheep to record the sounds. All sheep sound exactly like teenage boys pretending to be sheep, so this is ideal work experience for any Year 12s looking to get into government work.
Bag it up
The point of horn is to warn others of danger but it’s also really useful for telling people off, so it seems stupid to seek out a less annoying sound. Why not escalate instead, with the most grating sound on earth: the over-loud, smug voice of the Self Service checkout. “Unexpected moron in the turning lane” or “Select your indicator, mate” or “Please wait for assistance from someone who can drive.” Satisfying.
Perfect for intersections, having multiple Lordes yelling about the Green Light they’re waiting for might just get the message across. The other tracks from Melodrama are equally useful; let them know they’re a Liability, or wonder what they’ll do when they’re Sober, or threaten them with some Homemade
Dynamite. If you’re caught making obscene hand gestures you can always say you were dancing like Lorde while looking for Perfect parking Places.
An official siren is the ideal car horn. How many times have you turned your radio down and driven more carefully because you weren’t sure if the police siren was in the song or behind you? RNZ Concert listeners may be unfamiliar with this experience, but it’s the price commercial radio fans pay to hear those always hilarious and appropriate Breakfast Crews.
Random Annoying Noises
Familiarity breeds contempt. Keep drivers on their toes with a surprise selection of irritating sounds like snoring or loud tea-slurping. Unfortunately, the best annoying noise, fingernails down a blackboard, is useless these days because if you want to use it on a millennial you’d first have to flag down their car and explain what a blackboard was. Perhaps the Seoul researchers are right, because millennials would listen to a duck — but only if it was Drake .