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