Did You Know There’s Only One Reason You Can Legally Honk Your Horn in Idaho?
As a runner, there are fewer things we hate more than being startled by a motorist honking their horn right behind me for apparent reason at all.
Is it supposed to be a sign of encouragement? Is it because you think you recognize us? Is it because (ugh) you think a girl in leggings is attractive? It doesn't matter the reason, if we're running safely down the sidewalk and are out of harm's way...these motorists shouldn't be honking their horns at us at all. What they're doing is technically illegal in Idaho.
There's an Idaho Statute that discusses what equipment vehicles in Idaho have on them. In Title 49, Chapter 9, Section 49-957, it reads that vehicles operating on highways must have horn that can be heard from no less than 200 feet away is required.
It also goes on to say:
"The driver of a motor vehicle shall when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation give audible warning with his horn, but shall not otherwise use the horn when upon a highway."
In this case, a highway refers to any way that is open to the public to travel in a vehicle, not just major freeways like I-184 and I-84. That means the ONLY reason you can blow your horn while on the road in Idaho is for safety reasons.
So, blow your horn because someone's drifting into your lane without signaling? Legal.
Blowing your horn because you're furious that someone just cut you off? Not legal.
Honking at a texting pedestrian who's about to walk in front of your moving vehicle? Legal.
Honking at a runner on who's safely on the sidewalk because you think they look good in those leggings? Not legal. And creepy.
Honking at a car in front of you because they're not moving when the light turned green? Legal, if you're doing it because they've become a traffic obstruction which is a safety issue. Not legal, if you're just doing it because you're annoyed.
Honking your horn from the street to let your child know that you're there to pick them up? Technically illegal. But if you pull into a private driveway, you're good. Just don't be obnoxious. People have neighbors.
Now are the Boise Police or Idaho State Highway Patrol going to issue you a citation for it? Probably not, but we wouldn't tempt fate. The statute doesn't list what the penalty would be if you were cited for violating it.
By the way, excessive horn honking isn't the only bad driving habit that could potentially get you in trouble with the police. These are a few others you may or may not know about.