Car Horn Laws

Some traffic offences are obvious such as speeding, others are a little less known to some, such as use of the car horn.

Certain countries where accident statistics are high such as India, drivers use their car horns almost continuously whilst driving. In the UK however, it’s illegal to use the car horn, except to avoid a potential dangerous situation.

Explained are the UK car horn laws, when you are permitted to use the car horn, when the Highway Code states you must not use the horn and the possible fines imposed for the inappropriate and illegal use of the car horn.

WHEN IS IT LEGAL TO USE THE CAR HORN

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales.

The laws regarding car horns state that you may only use your car horn while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence.

Car horn laws
Car horn laws

When is it illegal to use the car horn

Inappropriate use of the car horn is dangerous and can distract other drivers, potentially leading to accidents. It’s also important to consider other peoples circumstances. Sounding your horn in built-up areas can affect people who are sleeping during the day due to sickness or due to working unsociable hours.

  • Never sound your horn aggressively. Even if you are not at fault and a pedestrian or other road user acts dangerously, you must sound your horn only to alert them of your presence.

Sounding the horn in anger, often after the event has occurred is in fact illegal and can see a motorist fined. Other circumstances where you MUST NOT use your horn

  • While stationary on the road
  • When driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30 pm and 7.00 am except when another road user poses a danger.

Illegal use of car horn – fines

Police have the power to issue motorists a fine for the illegal use of car horns. This will typically be in the form of a non-endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £30. If drivers do not agree that the FPN was correctly issued, they can challenge the decision in court, but if magistrates agree with the police they can increase the fine to up to £1,000. Local councils also have the power to potentially take action against individuals or commercial operations under the noise pollution law. See below for potential fines.

Making complaints

Motorists may be unwittingly breaking the law and being a nuisance. For example, a driver may sound their horn in the early each morning as a goodbye gesture, or frequently using the horn at night. Complaints should initially be conducted with the individual responsible. If the issue is not resolved, you may contact your local council who will investigate the problem.

If the individual is found to be causing excessive noise pollution and is breaking the law, the council will initially contact the individual(s) to request they cease the offence in question. If the individual(s) continue, the council can issue an Abatement Notice.

The notice may require that the nuisance be stopped altogether, or limited to certain times of day, depending on the nuisance. Failure to comply with an Abatement Notice is an offence and legal proceedings may result. If found guilty of an offence of this type, the maximum fine is £5,000 on domestic premises and £20,000 on commercial premises.

6 thoughts on “Car Horn Laws”

  1. Anthony Mallon

    And with 500, 000 immigrants a year landing in the UK it is hardly surprusing that noise pollution is getting worse.
    How many have even had driving lessons?
    Police and councils need to start getting serious about noise pollution!

  2. Pat

    I was practically ordered to go out of my car in an unlit dark lane,to find my daughter’s friends house by a young man who accused me of keeping his baby awake.I told him I was sorry about the baby,he then claimed I had done it the other night too.I was practically polluting the street with a few de de de de de de de,s!
    The so called other nights nuisance noise was one or two pamps on the horn,and my daughter came out.When he told me to get out of my car,and walk to go and get her,I was infuriated.He also suggested using a phone!
    To which I replied,who are you to order me about?
    I simply forgot to take my phone and I don,t like knocking on my daughter’s ,friends door.Especially,too as the lane is hidden by parked cars and it was dark
    Hardly the crime of the century.And far from noise pollution,to warrant a fine,from police.It was 10.30pm and 8.30pm ,respectively!

  3. Jenny

    Law states you only sound your horn to avoid an accident. It is an offence to break the law. As a nurse I frequently leave for work at 06.00 so will be in bed before 22.00 so I would be annoyed too. Just ask your daughter to be out at a certain time.

  4. Elliot

    Oooh G’wan Jenny get in there looool

  5. David Adam

    With all due respect, he was within his rights, and you had to use other means to contact your daughter, let’s put it another way, let’s say you just went to sleep it’s hot you open the window to let some fresh air in, and some idiot parked next to your house blowing his horn, you think you’re going to like it? I certainly wouldn’t it would anger me because it is a nuisance.
    He was not ordering you he was suggesting to contact your daughter either walk to where she was or use your phone we live in the 21st century.
    So if your daughter is in the cinema or a theatre you would park outside and blow your horn until the show is over? Isn’t it a bit arrogantly ridiculous?

  6. Alison Burton

    In reply to Pat.
    Omg I can’t believe you can’t get out of the car. I am assuming because it is a dark, but your daughter is ok with the dark? It states when you should use a horn and when you shouldn’t for a reason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *