2014 Mini Cooper: Great Horn
July 16, 2015
The California Vehicle Code has four sections on horns (and two on horse-drawn vehicles!) Pretty much they just say that you need to have one, you should use it when coming around corners on roads without center lines, when overtaking another vehicle, or "when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation."
The California Driver Handbook has even more detail on horns. You're apparently not supposed to use them if people are going slow, made a mistake, are on a bicycle or because I'm angry.
That's a bummer because our 2014 Mini Cooper has a great horn. It's loud, deep and not at all cutesy. Not using it every day would be the real crime.
As you're all likely aware, I didn't grow up on the West Coast and the driver handbook I got on the East Coast didn't have any of this touchy-feely business about not using the horn because it's loud. On the East Coast, you use your horn. All the time. Any time. Someone does something good? Beep. Something bad? Beep. No change in anything for a while? Might as well send out a honk or two and see if anyone's paying attention.
Some people can't walk down a crowded street without smiling and saying hello to passersby. I can't drive without using the horn. I'm social. Sue me.
I owned a Mazda 3 for a brief period and that car had a high-pitched horn you'd expect from a Barbie car or a Fiat. I would beep and then hide in shame. It was more of a "pardon me" horn compared to the Mini's "YO!" Although if we're doing a full horn evaluation, it must be said that the Mini's doesn't toot well. You can really lay into it, but getting a friendly little beep is tricky.
This post would be pointless without some proof. So here ya go!
Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 16,927 miles