Dead Man Honking

Somebody just got killed while sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle. Said person's body will, almost inevitably, fall forward, their head hitting the steering wheel and activating the horn. The constant droning draws everyone's attention and punctuates what just transpired.

Sister trope to Dead Foot Leadfoot.


  • Double Subverted in the end of the so-called "Banned Xbox Commercial", where a taxi driver seemingly refuses to participate in the on-going flashmob (where the participants pretend to shoot each other) because he is taking a call, but then does it, anyway, falling "dead" on the steering wheel (and the horn).

Film - Animated

Film - Live Action
  • Chinatown ends with Evelyn jumping in her car and trying to escape from the Big Bad, her insanely evil father Noah Cross. Shots are fired, there's a sound of a crash, and the sound of a droning car horn. A dead Evelyn has collapsed on the car horn. Cue Downer Ending.
  • Subverted in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, after his car crashes into a tree. Initially, the three people he's been pursuing are relieved at the sound of the car horn, assuming this trope. Their facial expressions turn to horror when the noise stops, revealing that of course, Myers has survived.

Live Action TV
  • AMC's The Walking Dead had a long story arc with the protagonists trying to lead an incredibly large zombie herd away from their safe haven, Alexandria. The ruse fails when a semi-trailer crashes into the town walls, and the driver, slumping over, sounds the horn, leading much of the horde back to them.
  • Not dead but unconscious. The Teaser to the Midsomer Murders episode "The Silent Land" ends with Joyce crashing her car. The scene fades to the credits with the horn blaring as Joyce slumps unconscious on the steering wheel.
  • The Sopranos: When The Mafia disposes of two would-be assassins to be absolutely certain that they won't tell tales, they crash their car so the dead driver slumps over and sounds the horn as the mobsters make their own getaway.
  • Amen. When the gang tries to break into a piano store to return one that was stolen, they appoint the elderly Rolly as the lookout for the police. When the cops bust them anyway, they realize that Rolly has fallen asleep when they hear the sound of the car horn.
  • In the Lifetime movie Sleeping With The Devil, a woman deliberately invokes this (although she's merely injured, not dead) in an attempt to call for help, having just been shot several times by the hitman hired by her ex-boyfriend to kill her.
  • Not dead but merely dazed: In the Better Call Saul episode "Nailed", Mike lays down an improvised spike strip made from a garden hose to ambush one of Hector Salamanca's couriers. When the courier's truck hits the strip, he loses control and swerves off the road into a ditch, striking his head on the steering wheel and activates the horn.
  • Murder, She Wrote: Happens when a van crashes during an attempted prison breakout at the start of "Trials and Tribulations".
  • CSI:
    • Happens when a drugged driver falls asleep at the wheel and runs off the road in "Jackpot".
    • Happens again in "Disarmed & Dangerous". A crook shoots at Brass and Ray from a moving car. Brass returns fire and kills the driver, and the car crashes into a parked car where the driver faceplants on the horn.

Video Games
  • Implied in Vigilante8 when you wear down your opponent's life bar completely and the horn goes off. You now have a few seconds to "Total" his vehicle.
  • In Modern Warfare 2, the player character and his squad are watching a person of interest, who suddenly draws a huge gun and shoots wildly, killing the driver of their vehicle, who slumps forward. The honking is audible as you continue the chase on foot for several blocks.