One Obnoxious Honk Getting Honked At

Well it happened again, one obnoxious honk during another run outdoors around my neighborhood. This time I was running 4 miles when I was jarred by the sound of a car horn. Apparently I’m not the only runner who has had this happen so I wanted to address it in today’s post.

One Obnoxious Honk

One Obnoxious Honk

Getting Honked at While Running

What does it mean when someone honks at you while you’re walking? This has happened to me multiple times over the years running mostly in suburban areas with traffic.

I always run on the sidewalk so I’m not being honked at for being in the road. I’ve been honked at while running and honked at while walking. It has happened enough times that I decided to address it in a blog post and crowd source experiences.

This is that post. Be sure to read the whole post and then check out the comments below for input from other runners. I know it’s a strange topic but there are actually a lot of people who want an answer to this question or want to know if it only happens to women.

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Getting Honked at While Walking

Why Do Guys Honk at Me

Let’s get straight to the point here. For lack of a better way to say this: Why do (some) men driving by find it necessary to honk at women who are walking or running down the street? The most recent time it happened to me I was walking.

I was also bundled up. I am not out there dressed provocative or anything. I am not looking for attention and would prefer not to have it. Some women do run in a sports bra and shorts I guess that could draw attention but it doesn’t mean honking is what they are seeking.

Usually if they are dressed that way it’s because it’s really hot out. Same with a man running in just shorts and no shirt. I raced once or twice with only a sports bra for a top because it was more than 90 degrees at race start.

Honking at Runner

Sadly this is by far not the first time this has ever happened. Actually the first time I remember rather clearly. I was about 12 or 13 and walking to the mailbox on our rather busy street. I received a honk and remembered thinking “What the heck?!”

And then, I also remember thinking that whoever honked must have thought I was like 20, whereas I was actually in about sixth grade. Honking is not new, obviously. I just don’t understand it.

Trying to garner a male’s perspective I asked the husband. “Why do guys honk at women?” I asked. “They think the girl looks pretty hot,” was his answer. I appreciated hearing his honest and direct response to the question. I’m not sure if all men would answer the same or not.

Honking at Walker

Conducting further research, I was not able to find a single journalistic piece online on the matter. Instead, however, I found a many forums containing women complaining about this epidemic and even one website where men claim honking is a “manly thing” to do.

A Huffington Post piece where a woman describes being honked at by a male school bus driver while she was bundled up from head to toe; and finally on our own dear Runner’s World where women detail the annoying honking epidemic.

Regardless of the reasoning behind the honk, my experience is the “attention” is most often unwanted. I do not personally know of any woman who has expressed wanting to be honked at. Additionally, when it happens to me the first think I think is that it’s creepy, rude and the least bit attractive.

Obnoxious Honk

One Obnoxious Honk

In Summary

I do want to offer one differing perspective on getting honked at. It is possible, I suppose, that a honk could be used to issue a warning or concern for safety. Such as if someone were biking too close to the line or about to enter traffic.

What do you think of the honk? Are male runners ever honked at?

23 thoughts on “One Obnoxious Honk Getting Honked At”

  1. I found this article while googling why I get honked at on my runs. It’s always a different car, sometimes men, sometimes women. I’m a guy and don’t immediately assume it’s because I’m irresistibly attractive. I thought maybe it was supportive, but it seems everyone takes it a different way and no one knows the true intentions.

  2. I like to go out on long jogs 7-9 miles every morning around 430-5 AM. I am normally in my own head and sorting out thoughts and this one particular guy kept honking at me around 6-630 AM in a neighborhood. It always startled and annoyed me because it’s 6-630 AM and people are probably still asleep and I thought he was just trying be a jerk. One morning I was prepared and on the offensive and when he honked I glared at him and gave him the finger. I’ve been left in peace ever since.

  3. Oh, come on you guys (or girls I mean!) You know you like it! I’m just not buying this “I get so mad.” Read the posts again and notice how they all start out with, “I get honked at all the time”. Read between the lines on those saying that and then saying “and I just hate it!” I am a runner and I dress in what I am most comfie in,which is usually tight fitting, and I get ogled at, whistled at, honked at, you name it, and ya know what? It makes me feel great! They are mostly innocent (except the guy that decided to expose himself to me…yuk!) They are saying “you look good to me and I just want to tell you”. Why get mad at that? Honestly, it puts a skip in my step and I run faster! Enjoy it…one day you will be 80 and wishing just one person would notice you!

  4. I get honked at constantly when I run and have for years. I am not a size 4 (I’m a size 10 petite)but I’m well proportioned and wear a size 9 junior pants.

    I would say the honks come from what I wear (runing shorties) that hug my butt. However, even when I lived across country, and wore unsexy outfits, I still got honked at. So to those who say it’s the clothes…. I say, “u uh!”

    It’s the confidence you display when you are out there. I am sorry to hear of the horrible stories about the yelling and getting tossed at with things – where do some of you guys run? But overall, I wouldn’t change the honks for anything. And I’m always respectful and stay off the road when a car is coming.

  5. I honk at cute guys when I see them running. I honk at old guys too because I think it is so cute that they are out running.

  6. Sometimes the honk startles me. It makes me think I missed something. Or dropped something, or am about to run out in front of a car due to intense focus. So I would have to say I find it annoying. If I’m being honked at because some dude thought I might be some hot chick trotting down the street, when really Im a shuffling sweaty mess with a (not so) sexy hydration belt, I really don’t need the distraction. But if I’m about to step out in front of a car get bit by a dog, by all means, honk away!

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever been honked at in a friendly manner. I’ve never honked at a girl/ women either in all my time driving. I think it’s kinda rude to do!

  8. I take honking as a compliment 🙂

    Honestly, I always want to honk at runners when I see them — in a way to go, you are awesome kind of way!

  9. Ha, I actually enjoy the honks and waves… I’m like, ohhh is that someone I know (which sometimes it is)! and if not, I view it as them telling me “way to go” on my run! I find it entertaining and kind of like them cheering me on.

  10. I prefer the honk to yelling, I guess. It makes me nervous, though, because then I feel like someone is paying way too much attention to me and running alone outside in the early AM can already make me feel pretty vulnerable.

  11. At this point it’s just one of those things that have become something I easily tune out. The only time it really ever freaks me out is if I were to be running in the road, otherwise if it happens and I’m on side walk I just think in my head “idiot” and keep on trucking.

  12. In my 20’s I thought it was because someone thought I looked good. Nowadays, I’m pretty sure they honk because they are annoyed with me for running on ‘their’ road and they have to go around me, or drive slower or not pass someone in the breakdown lane. (I’m way too old to get the pretty girl honk anymore…. lol)

    But, yes, it sucks and scares the crap out of me most of the time. Sometimes I’ll wave, sometimes they get the finger.

  13. I get honked at and yelled at and waved at all the time. In the summer, I consider it a good day if I can get through a run without anyone yelling out their window at me. And it’s not just because I think I look good, it happens to a lot of runners I know around where I live. Pretty much everyone gets the finger from me lol.

    • I am tempted to perform an obscene gesture, however, I guess the paranoia in me wonders if the person is a psycho they might then ocme after me or try to follow me.

      So usually I just express verbal disgust to myself. Or here on the blog. 🙂

  14. I ran in shorts and a tshirt on Tuesday and got 3 honks. I think people forget was bare limbs look like or something because I know I do not look like a VS model out there. I usually look away and am slightly annoyed. The only time I appreciated a cat call was when I was out with Miles after he was born with the jogging stroller and some teenager yelled ‘MILF’ at me. I was like whew, I still got it.

  15. You know, consider the male runners out there. I don’t get honks. Or cat calls when I run. But, I did almost get hit by some dude in a pickup who yelled some very nasty slur.


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