Is Honking Your Horn Legal in North Carolina?

4-1024x1024Is Honking Your Horn Legal in North Carolina?

Every vehicle has a built-in horn located on the steering wheel. The horn is needed for emergency situations, but sometimes, honking the horn can cause a problem. With the increase in road rage incidents across the country, it has been noted that using a horn can provoke or incite anger and violence. Some states have made it illegal to honk your horn more than once.


The Law Requires a Working Horn

North Carolina law requires a motor vehicle to have a working horn installed. N.C. General Statutes 20-125 states in part “Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet.” It is possible to receive a ticket for a non-working horn, or, more likely a simple warning to get your horn fixed.


In this video, learn about the laws around honking your horn in North Carolina from Managing Member Matt Arnold.


When am I Allowed to Honk My Horn?

According to the laws of North Carolina, a driver may honk their horn only as a reasonable warning to pedestrians and other drivers. Some of the various occasions on which a driver may honk the horn include before they start moving, when they stop, or when they turn, so they can warn pedestrians of their intentions. It is not legal to use your horn for any other reason than as a warning. A driver or operator cannot sound the horn unless it is an emergency. A driver cannot use a horn to make “unnecessary or unreasonable loud or harsh sounds.”


Using Horns During Road Rage Incidents

More and more frequently, it is becoming apparent that people use their horns more often during road rage incidents. Blowing the horn as a sign of anger or intimidation can be considered a misuse of the horn. It may be considered an unreasonable or unnecessary loud sound and it could be possible to get a fine orcentinnial-park-georgia-1569539-1024x679 other penalties. However, North Carolina has not enacted a statute that specifically deals with the illegal use of horns during road rage. Road rage is an extreme type of aggressive driving.


Can Horns Be Dangerous?

Road rage incidents are on the rise and the use of horns is one of the ways that these situations may escalate. Repeatedly honking the horn or laying on the horn can infuriate the other driver and make him or her angrier. A person who honks at another driver out of anger or frustration is inviting road rage. For example, a driver may honk at someone who cuts them off in traffic. This, in turn, can cause the other driver to retaliate and become enraged. The use of honking a horn to show displeasure is not an authorized use of your horn. You may inadvertently start a serious problem just by honking your horn at them. Road rage incidents can and do often escalate and the result can be serious accidents or physical encounters with injuries or even death.


Whether you are the victim of an injury caused by a negligent driver, or you’ve been charged with aggressive driving, we can help. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to discuss the details of your case today. Get a phone or video consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.








The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.




Image Credit


See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:


See Our Related Blog Posts:

Are There Any Defenses for Speeding Violations in North Carolina?


Criminal Charges and Penalties for Driving Without a License in North Carolina

Contact Information