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.


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.

11 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.

  7. Rob

    Pat is a perfect example of the modern FCUK YOU! generation.
    No respect for others…

  8. Dronerg

    I am wholeheartedly sick of people pipping their horns on arrival and departure at a neighbours house. IT IS ILLEGAL to sound your horn when stationary. It is totally inconsiderate to beep anyway. People like myself and partner both suffer PTSD and every time a car horn pips my heart races and my blood pressure rises. I also suffer Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and need to sleep a lot so the selfish people pipping their horns, because they are too lazy to get out and nock a door get on my wick. If you are disabled and cannot get out of the car is also no excuse to be a nuisance to everyone, either photn the people of let them know in advance to look out for you. STOP BEING SO SELF ABSORBED AND THINK OF OTHERS NOT JUST YOURSELF!

  9. Dronerg

    Rule 112 of the Highway Code is very clear on the purpose of vehicle horns, and states that they are only to be used in order to warn another road user of your presence. That means you should never honk as a greeting, or as an expression of annoyance.

  10. Criosdean

    Morning! I have been woken this morning at approx 3.40 AM by an inconsiderate car user sounding their car horn to bid their friend (whom they have just dropped off!) ‘goodbye’ Needless to say, I am unable to get back off to sleep again and I am feeling pretty annoyed about this. Please spare a thought for other people, and only use your car horn in compliance with the rules/law when it is a genuine emergency and you need to let other road users know where you are. Thank you!

  11. someone

    🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. its just a car horn. You lot allow politicians do whatever they like but will cry that your fellow ordinary human uses a horn that comes built in the car?????? the world has better problems. who even made this law? of all the things to do some old folks decided “lets make using a car horn illegal for the poor” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 anyone born before 1980 shouldn’t be making laws or regulating anything.. matter of fact we shouldn’t be operating under any law set by people from the past (anything before 1980).. its 2023, HORNS ARE HARMLESS.. there’s all these issues with cost of living, inflation, racism, robbery, Knife crimes etc and people are bothered by a car horn?? make it make sense. the same government that cant pay workers proper wages will enforce and prosecute someone for using the horn built in their car????????????? ffs people wake up..
    imagine crying about a horn that cant be used more than 4 beeps. such a FREE COUNTRY

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