Question: I noticed that the horn on my vehicle does not work. Is there a law that that says a vehicle must have a working horn and when it can be used?

Answer: According to state law, your vehicle must have a horn “in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet. The horn or other warning device must not emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle.”

I believe the definition of whistle is quite clear, and use common sense to determine if a horn is unreasonably loud or harsh. If it’s too loud or harsh, it could violate a local noise ordinance.

Minnesota law says it’s legal to honk a horn when it’s “reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation” on the road. For example, that’d include warning other vehicles, pedestrians or animals as needed to avoid a crash.

If it’s not a safety situation, it’s illegal to honk the horn on the road. Excessive or illegal use of the horn could result in a road rage scenario, so only use it when needed for safety.

Any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, 2900 48th St., NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848; or send an email to: Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.

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