WASHINGTON—His lips flaring as he forced the loud blasts out of his lungs, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg reportedly brushed up on his honking Thursday in preparation for an important conference with the nation’s big rigs. “If we’re ever going to find common ground with these 18-wheelers, it’s essential that I speak their language,” said Buttigieg, who hoped to avoid a repeat of the disastrous 2021 rail summit during which he used an errant and unscripted “choo-choo” that elicited widespread criticism, forcing his aides to walk back the offensive train-whistle sounds. “I took honking for a couple years in high school, so it’s all in here somewhere. While I’m certainly not fluent, just knowing how to honk ‘Good morning’ and ‘My name is Pete Buttigieg’ will go a long way toward building trust with America’s semitrucks. The last thing I want to do is rely on a translator for a basic expression like diesel or jackknife or Dead Man’s Curve.” At press time, sources confirmed Buttigieg was watching YouTube videos of big rigs honking to make sure he had the accent down.