The world’s roads could one day come alive with the sound of quacking ducks – as the unorthodox sound was found to be a more agreeable car horn noise.
South Korean researchers have designed the new horn in a bid to reduce sound pollution in major cities, finding the duck-like beep to be far friendlier for passing pedestrians.
The study’s aim is to create a less startling horn sound which could also enhance road safety by proving less distracting to drivers.
The research team at Soongsil University in Seoul analysed the history of the car horn, or vehicle klaxon, since its origins back in 1908.
They used 100 volunteers in an attempt to discover a sound which could best alert people to danger, while not causing undue stress to those in the vicinity.
Despite being popular in the early days of motoring, the classic so-called “ah-oo-gah” horn sound was gradually phased out and replaced with other attention-grabbing sounds.
But in doing so, many modern day horns have become too irritating, the survey found, with passers-by reporting feeling stressed out by the volume and immediacy of the noises.
It seems motorists frequently feel the urge to use their horns as a result of what they experience on the roads.
Earlier this year an RAC Car Insurance poll revealed that only 4% of drivers thought it was likely they could head out for a half-hour drive without encountering any thoughtless driving.
Professor Myung-Jin Bae said, lead researcher, said: “In our study we used the existing historic Klaxon sound source, but made some modification concerning its volume and rhythm with duration time by adding a power controller.
“Our new Klaxon sound can immediately alert the pedestrians of the danger while also reducing the unpleasantness and stress of the sound.”
The 100 listeners were asked to rate potential car horn sounds for perceptual qualities including stress and loudness.
Their answers were combined to create a “mean option score” which ranked the candidate sounds from bad to excellent on a five-point scale.