How many car “beeps‘ does it take to warn someone of possible danger?
I beeped twice at a white-haired woman at the tail end of a car she was scraping snow from. Her back was facing an oncoming van, which had its turn signal on, waiting for the woman to at least take notice of an intent to park right next to the passenger side of the car she had just exited.
She was paying no attention, and I feared that she would simply walk into “an accident” or be frightened out of her wits if she failed to look at the van coming into the last vacant spot for handicapped parking.
I beeped my horn twice. She never blinked. Never acknowledged anything might have been amiss. Never looked into my direction or, more importantly, in the direction of the now-oncoming van.
The driver of the van eased into the spot. The woman, who looked in her mid-70s, might have had a problem with hearing. But she seemed all right when talking and appearing to exchange words with a gentlemen who got out of the same car and was accompanying to an Aldi store just outside my hometown in Norristown, PA.
I then heard two more beeps from the horn of a car. They came from the parked van. The driver had evidentially “locked” the doors of the vehicle. The person had pointed their hand at the van, and must have clicked a remote button. The two sounds from the horn were identical to the sounds I offered in trying to gain attention from the inattentive woman.
No wonder it didn’t work! We have grown accustomed to the two-beep announcement of the locked doors. In providing a new advancement, technology may have taken away one of our sure-fire warning devices. We have been using a car horn for over 100 years to announce to pedestrians and other drivers to take heed, to use caution. To pay attention to our vehicle’s route or intended direction. Now it won’t work unless one becomes extremely rude and holds their hand on the horn for one of those horrendously long bellowing sounds that all of us detest.
The two-beep warning might have made some people angry upon hearing it. And maybe it led to some cities, like Nashville, Tenn., the country music capital of the USA, to ban the use of the horn altogether. Others, particularly small ones in the South, prefer the horn not be used except for dire emergencies.
We should alter the sound of the two-beep door lock. Make them “bips,” instead of “beeps.” You know, a millisecond of the sound from the horn instead of a full beep.
Surely technology could do something like that to preserve such a safety measure given us by the auto industry.
And, now that I’m on this subject, how about getting rid of all car alarms that beep and beep until you want to get a tire iron from your trunk and give the noisy car something to really beep about. They should be banned, and the remote announcers muffled or “bipped” down.
This way, horn-blowers could return to being the type of Good Samaritans that our “whistle-blowers” have become in society. Where would we be without ’em?