‘Horn OK please’ is a phrase commonly painted on commercial vehicles like trucks, buses or local taxis in India.
The origin of this phrase is unknown. Also, there is no official significance with respect to Indian traffic regulations. No rules in India mandate or suggest the use of such a ‘slogan’ on a vehicle. Still tens of thousands of vehicles are decorated with the phrase Horn OK please.
One theory says that the term bears its roots in the second world war where the trucks were run on kerosene engines. Kerosene, being highly unstable in nature, would cause the trucks to explode at the slightest accident. Hence a warning would be painted on the back saying ‘Horn Please,On Kerosene’. Gradually this became a norm and is still seen on most trucks even today.
Another reason given to how this sign originated is that most trucks in India are manufactured by TATA. In India, when wishing someone goodbye, one commonly says, “OK TATA!”, where TATA means goodbye. Since most trucks had the TATA logo on them, truck owners often painted the word OK above it. The HORN PLEASE phrase surrounds the OK TATA vertical combination. Thus, a person reading just the first line would read, “HORN OK PLEASE”.
Another theory goes, that The Tata Oil Mills co.Ltd.(TOMCO), unveiled an economy detergent powder called OK. This brand had a symbol in a shape of a lotus flower. To market this detergent better, it is believed that the symbols were painted on trucks and lorries. Since the trucks had HORN PLEASE already painted on the left and right edges of the back flap, the lotus flower symbol and OK were painted in the center of the flap. Thast’s what got OK in between HORN PLEASE, making it HORN OK PLEASE. Moving with time, it became a tradition for truck drivers and owners to paint their trucks in such a fashion.
A more careful inspection in the driving culture in India and around the globe, its been noticed that ‘HORN OK PLEASE’ in the given form resembles three modes in which a vehicle following another vehicle should be in.
- The first mode is that of HORN, if the following vehicle wants to overtake a vehicle ahead of it from the left side then horn should be blown. This way the vehicle leading gets knowledge about the speeding vehicle and does not make a sudden left turn.
- The second mode is that of OK, if the following vehicle is exactly behind a vehicle, OK denotes that the vehicle which is leading has no problem about the following vehicle and thus middle name is OK.
- The third and final mode is that of PLEASE, in which the vehicle leading notifies the following vehicle that if it intends to overtake from the right side the it can please with no objections.
source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horn_OK_Please