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Bright Lights, Dim Bulbs

The Swiss are reknowned for their level headed temperament.  Their even disposition and innate diplomacy probably had much to do with the UN’s decision to base a significant portion of its operations in Geneva. 

If you really want to see the Swiss over-wind their cookoo clock, then try driving badly on their roads.  Bad driving is to the Swiss what beer is to fraternity boys.  It brings out their dark side. 

Fifteen years ago I had the unpleasant nighttime task of piloting a Volkswagen Polo on the treacherous E25 Route de Chamonix towards Geneva.  No matter how fast I flogged that poor VW or what travel lane I chose, we inexplicably drew the fist pumping, horn blaring ire of every Swiss motorist that passed our 1.3 litre deathtrap.  I endured this torment for over an hour until Sven, my Norwegian Navy Commander travel partner awoke and realized that the rear fog lights were switched on.  On European spec cars, this cranks the tail lamps to retina fusing brightness levels.  No wonder we nearly caused a diplomatic incident.

The Swiss would positively lose their minds on the roads of America.  Take an informal poll of American drivers and you’ll see that a large percentage have taken to driving with their front fog lamps ablaze. All of the time.

For some drivers this is likely an innocent oversight.  For a significant number however, fog lights have become an apparent driving fashion statement.

On small cars (with the notable exception of rally lamp equipped Subaru Imprezas and WRXs),  abusive fog light use is a petty annoyance. The lamps are dull and often mounted low enough to avoid really offending other motorists.  But the aforementioned Subarus, large SUVs and Pickups are a real problem.  Drive in front of one of these road going tritium lasers and you’ll soon feel sunburn rising on the back of your neck.

Let’s agree on this premise: Intentionally driving with your fog lights on when it isn't foggy does not make you cool.  It makes you a big stupid idiot.

Admittedly strong sentiment yes - but I regard "foggies" with the same utter disdain that I formally reserved for clowns, Styx, Shake Weight commercials and organizers  of children's beauty pagents.

During World War II, Air Raid wardens dispensed headlamp hoods to American motorists.  These hoods reduced the lumen output of vehicle lamps therefore making our cities less visible targets for nighttime bombing attacks.  I think the time is right for a similar mandatory neutering campaign for America’s fog lights.   We're open to your ideas.  Email your creative, non-lethal and legal thoughts to and the winning entry will be posted here.  The winner also receives a free Gyrhead & Sons tee shirt and the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.

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