Car horns should be replaced by duck quacks, scientists say

A mallard duck splashes in the Great Stour river in Westgate Gardens, Canterbury, Kent, as forecasters predict that a wave of warm air will move across the country in the coming days.

Cities could be about to become much quieter now that a team of scientists have come up with a more calming alternative to the traditional blaring horn.

A team from the Soongsil University in Seoul, South Korea, have come up with research suggesting that a horn resembling the sound of a duck quacking is a far more 'pedestrian-friendly' alternative to the typical angry-sounding horn most of us are accustomed to.

Based on a remodelled classic klaxon horn making the 'ah-oo-gah' sound, first introduced in 1908, the sound was altered to resemble a duck quacking, supposedly attracting people's attention in a far less stressful way.

Lead researcher Professor Myung-Jin Bae said: "Our new klaxon horn can immediately alert the pedestrians of the danger while also reducing the unpleasantness and stress of the sound."

A group of 100 volunteers had to listen to a range of sounds and evaluate them for different qualities, such as stress reduction and loudness. Oddly, the noise of a duck quacking came out best from the experiment.

Researchers also added that a less startling horn could help promote road safety, as it is not as distracting to other drivers or pedestrians.

Yet, despite this, many scientists have counter-argued this research. Mike Stigwood, a consultant with noise-pollution specialist MAS Environmental told The Guardian: "You need a noise that triggers the sense in an alarming way and immediately draws your attention.

"This is what sirens and car horns do currently," he added.

By Ted Welford

Read Full Story