06/11/2013 02:23 pm ET Updated Aug 11, 2013

An Auto Accessory for Happier Motoring

Here's my suggestion for one small thing that would make daily life better: Every car in America should be equipped with a second horn. Seriously. With all the advancements in automotive technology during the past 50 years how hard can it be to give us two honking options?

The additional horn I want would be intended for one specific situation: You're stopped at a red light behind another car, the driver in that car isn't paying attention, and when the light turns green both of you just sit there.

I intensely dislike honking in this situation. The standard car horn is loud and sounds thoroughly unfriendly. As everyone knows, many drivers use their horns to express anger and contempt. It's a non-verbal way of saying, "Hey, you stupid, idiotic jerk!" The harsh sound can also provoke an equally angry reaction from the person being honked at.

When I'm stuck behind someone who isn't moving once the green light pops on, I want a horn that will be a gentle nudge not a kick in the pants. My working name for this yet-to-be invented accessory is the 'Lil' Tooter.' It would sound cheerful and helpful, as if I'm saying, "By golly, the light turned green. We're good to go!"

I try not to assume the worst about people. It's possible the driver ahead of me isn't moving for a good reason. Maybe he or she is having a leg cramp or dizzy spell. Maybe someone is just having a really bad day. With the 'Lil' Tooter' I could make my presence, and my desire to move forward, known without seeming insensitive or hostile.

I know there are a lot of places where a kinder, gentler car horn would be considered ridiculous. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't develop a huge fan base in midtown Manhattan. But on Sunday morning at a quiet suburban intersection, when the only two cars present are yours and the one in front of you, and the driver in that other car is cleaning his glasses or rummaging through the glove compartment when the stoplight goes green, the 'Lil' Tooter' would come in very handy.

And, speaking from recent personal experience, it would be especially appropriate on those rare, high-anxiety occasions when the unmoving vehicle in front of you happens to be a police car.