It’s a great feeling when you’re a kid, on a road trip with your parents, to spot a truck and pump your arm and get a loud blaring air horn in response.
Maybe that even inspired you to be a truck driver in the first place!
But air horns are more than light-hearted fun: they’re a vital addition to your truck that may just save your life, and others’.
Air horns and the law
Air horns are installed on a variety of vehicles from trucks, trains and fire engines. They’re used to warn other road users of their presence, shoo wildlife from the highway, and give warnings. The sound that is produced is extremely loud, and can be heard over long distances.
Rule 112 of The Highway Code states that you must use your horn only while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence. It’s also clear that you should never sound your horn aggressively, or when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30 pm and 7.00 am except when another road user poses a danger.
How do air horns work?
An air horn is able to create a loud noise due to having trumpets in various lengths and sizes that create different sounds and pitches all at once.
They create the sound via a compressor pushing air through the horns, just like a musician playing a trumpet.
You can buy air horns which sound with the truck’s regular horn, or ones that need an electric solenoid to connect to the dash switch, such as this whistle horn. Electric solenoids enable air horns to be operated from an electric switch rather than a pull chain, and you can purchase those separately.
Best air horns to buy
Overall, the best air horn to buy is one that is compatible with your truck, and which is road legal. But beyond that, it won’t be hard to find one which matches your personality. After all, you’re the one who’s going to hear it most often - why not make it yours?