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Two important things to know about honking, per this excellent Slate piece on the topic: Half of all emergency honking is meant to "chastise," while the other half usually precedes--rather than averts--a car crash. "It really didn't serve any purpose at all," says Jeff Muttart, a traffic-accident reconstructionist, of the latter type of honking. "It was just, Hey, by the way, I'm going to hit you." More about general honking: "People honk more when it's hot than when it's cold, more on weekdays than on weekends, more if they are male than if they are female, more at beaters than at Benzes, more if they feel they can do so anonymously, and more in the city than in the country." [Slate]