On a recent medium length bus journey (12 hours)we took the opportunity to study the tooting habits of the Brazilian driver. The results of the study are thus:
Typically, honks can be categorised into one of 3 categories:
1) Hello – this is solely the preserve of bus drivers and can only be done by one to another. It consists of one, short, friendly honk, followed by a wave/salute which is unnervingly like a Nazi salute.
2) Thanks/You’re Welcome – this is reserved for other heavy goods vehicles, bus and lorries drivers. When needing to overtake or being overtaken, you signal your gratitude of your receipt of someone else’s gratitude with 2 honks.
3) I’m Here/Watch Out – this is without doubt the most complicated of all Brazilian horn signals. There are several variables in play here.
- What kind of vehicle are we talking about? If it is motorised, two honks should suffice. If not, there are further dependencies.
- Pedestrians – male or female?
If male, what age? Under 30 or over 70 demand 2 honks. Between 30 and 70? No honks – you are expendable.
If female, again age comes into play. If the female is a minor or more than 15 year the bus driver’s senior, 3 honks. If over the age of consent and less than 15 years older than the bus driver, 4-5 honks (at the driver’s discretion). If the woman is attractive, add a honk. If she is wearing something skimpy, add a honk. And if she pays the driver the slightest bit of attention, add another 2 honks.
For all of the above, consider the following; if a bicycle is involved, add 2 honks. If a horse/donkey and cart are involved, reduce to minimal honking.
All of this would undoubtedly make for noisy driving, until you consider the size of the country. Brazil is big enough to absorb all of Europe and still have over 2 million square miles to play with. Ultimately, the number of other road users you come across is limited, and you welcome the break in the monotony.