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Traffic and road safety in Hong Kong

Where are Hong Kong drivers going with the constant honking?

  • Hong Kong drivers seem only to use the horn to express their impatience and annoyance
  • This is noise pollution, so Hong Kong should consider investing in technology to track offenders
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 1:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 1:04pm

I travel extensively but I have never encountered drivers so badly behaved, rude and impatient as those in Hong Kong (“Why won’t Hong Kong drivers yield to ambulances?”, October 28). The law says that the car horn should only be used to warn others of a driver’s approach, yet Hong Kong drivers seem only to use the horn to express their impatience and annoyance.

I have just spent several days in Shanghai, and not once did I hear the sound of a car horn. Why? My hosts told me that, in Shanghai, new technology has been introduced to identify drivers who use their car horns improperly. Perpetrators are traced and fined. This new approach resulted in an overnight cessation of car horn misuse. I was recently in Bangkok where, again, I never heard a single car horn.

Car horns are a major cause of noise pollution. In Hong Kong, there is a cacophony of raucous car horns from early morning til late at night. Drivers seem to think that by leaning on their car horns they can, magically, clear the traffic jam in front of them. It is not just bad manners or ill temper – it is plain stupid.

Yet, no action is taken against them. No one seems to tackle what is clearly a major problem. It is high time the government followed Shanghai’s example. Let them introduce exactly the same technology and I have no doubt that Hongkongers, as a whole, will benefit. And those drivers reading this, have some manners, will you?

While we are on the subject of poor driving, why do so few Hong Kong drivers use their indicator lights? Have they been disabled? Indicator lights tell other road users (drivers or pedestrians) where the driver intends to go, yet so many drivers will turn left or right without giving any prior indication at all. Again, this is very bad manners. It is bad driving, but it is so typical of Hong Kong drivers.

Christopher Southam, Sheung Wan