Every time I see this phrase “Horn OK Please” painted on the back of a truck in India, I keep wondering why every truck that rumbles across the country carries ‘Horn OK Please’. I have been searching on the internet for the answers and been asking few of my intellectual friends too about why they have a slogan. So, after collecting enough information from everywhere around now we have enough points on why is there “Horn Ok Please” on every truck from decades.
Here are the reasons behind “Horn Ok Please” History:
1. The ‘OK’ was used as a safety measure on the highways.
Most highways in India were single lane. Which meant there was always a risk of running into an incoming vehicle while attempting to overtaking. The “OK” was accompanied with a bulb over it, which the driver of the truck would switch on to signal the vehicle behind it that there is no oncoming traffic and hence it was okay to overtake. This arrangement was placed in the center.
One other thing that was written was a courteous ‘Horn, please‘ , with the placement such that the ‘Horn’ was on the left side and the ‘please’ on the right. Gradually the practice of using the bulb to signal other drivers faded away, probably because of the non maintenance of the bulb and also the emergence of multi lane highways, and the OK remained, sandwiched in between the horn and please.
2. ‘OK’ was a brand of detergent manufactured by Tata, and was publicized using trucks! It was painted in the centre, and became a standalone greeting, gesture, and exclamation.
During the time, Tata Oil Mills Ltd. Co (TOMCO) came up with a new brand of detergent called “OK”. And in order to market their detergent they used the motor medium very effectively by painting OK. This brand had a symbol in the shape of a lotus flower. Thus it became “Horn OK Please”. This carried on for a few years and as times went by the OK sort of became a part of the initial paint itself by the lorry drivers and is still being used by people without knowing its glorious history. The “Horn Please”, got split between Horn to the left and Please to the right, and OK was stuck in the middle, it became “Horn OK Please” and silly.
3. ‘HORN OK PLEASE’ 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 the horn should be blown. This way the vehicle leading is advised of the vehicle passing, and does not make a sudden left turn.
The second mode is that of OK: if the following vehicle is exactly behind the leading vehicle, the leading vehicle is OK with this.
The third mode is that of PLEASE: if the following vehicle wishes to overtake on the right side, it may do so without blowing its horn—effectively, the leading vehicle is saying, “Please proceed.
4. Another story to the statement is actually “Horn Please, On Kerosene” which modified with time.
‘On Kerosene’ has its origins in World War II. The WW2 trucks used to have kerosene engines and they weren’t very reliable which would explode in the slightest of accidents. Hence,”OK” was used as a warning and “On Kerosene” gradually became “OK” by time. Gradually this became a norm and is still seen on most trucks even today.
Though these may be the real cases, there are plenty of theories for the “Horn Ok Please” being into existence.
So the next time you see “Horn Ok Please”, you know what’s the history behind this.