Busy street India, where everyone is honking - Honking in India

Honking in India

In India, Travels and Adventures by Kaspars Misins

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Right from our first hours in India, it was clear – traffic here means also endless noise. And the same way we think now after more than four months in India. It’s not just because there are a lot more vehicles, than, for example, in Riga. For sure, it has an impact. But there is something more – everyone is honking here.

Small ones are honking, big ones are honking, two and three wheeler’s are honking, four wheeler’s are honking, old ones are honking and new ones are honking.

When Indians are honking?

They are honking to tell others about their presence on the road. Honking when approaching someone. And honking also, if can’t get to that someone. Honking, when there is none around (to say – where is everyone?). Honking when coming closer to a vehicle ahead. Honking a moment before overtaking. Honking, when overtaking is done. And everything can start again. Honking can continue.

Honking before each junction and bend. Honking when crossing this junction or taking this bend. If bend is sharper than usual or junction is with worse visibility than normally, then honking continues for all the time of going through that. I’m here, here, here, here, here, here, here … This way reminding others about their current location every second.


The same “I’m here, here, here, here, here, here, here, …” method is used by trucks and buses, when overtaking each other. And also when only starting overtaking, especially in situations when it shouldn’t be done – most often, when someone small is driving ahead of them. But if I’m honking, I can do whatever I want, that’s their thinking. In rural areas buses are honking also to let you know, that it’s the last time to run out to the bus stop.

Indians are honking also to greet someone. It can be simple “beep” greeting, it can be sincere “beep, beep, beep” greeting and also it can be enthusiastic “beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep”. As it’s happening at the same time with the rest of honking, it may be difficult to recognize the greeting. But i’m sure, they recognize.

Indians are honking to people. Honking to cows. And honking to goats and pigs. Honking to cats and dogs. Honking to traffic lights, when it’s red for too long.

And sometimes… Indians aren’t honking.

Kaspars Misins

Author: Kaspars Misins

Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.