This Exchange Between A Cop And Driver Is Puzzling And Frustrating

Illustration for article titled This Exchange Between A Cop And Driver Is Puzzling And Frustrating

This video isn’t exactly exciting, but it has a certain weird draw to it. I don’t think either participant comes off very well, and there’s a certain uncomfortable tension throughout. So why do I keep watching it?

The video shows an exchange between a policeman and a Toyota Tacoma driver in Forest City, PA. The Toyota driver was pulled over for having a low-beam headlight out. Normally, this wouldn’t be too big a deal, but factors relating to both parties in the exchange turn this small, chance encounter into a frustrating back-and-forth of hypocrisy and lies.

It’s like a tiny encapsulation of the worst aspects of human interpersonal relationships. I can imagine this same dialog being delivered by two black-clad actors on a barren stage and it would feel like a Samuel Beckett one-act that makes everyone in the theater reflect on the fundamental meaningless of being.

The hypocrisy comes courtesy of the cop, who is pulling a driver over for having a headlight out when his very own police cruiser is a victim of the same exact fate. He too is piloting a pididdle, and turns away in subtle shame when this is pointed out to him.


But this is not to say the driver is any better. First, the cop reveals that he’d pulled over this same driver before, for the same infraction, and given a verbal warning. So they have a relationship.

Next, I think I actually believe the cop, and that the Tacoma did have one headlight out. The Tacoma driver seems to have turned on his high beams, so both headlights were illuminated, and then says that

“ foglights go off with the high beams, and then when I click on my low beams, my foglights turn on. With my low beams.”

That’s not how headlights work. I checked on Tacoma headlights, and the low beams are a filament in the same bulb as the high beams, in the main headlight unit. The fog lights are not a part of the low beams, by default.

It appears that the guy put his high beams on so both headlights were lit, and then turned on and off the fogs to simulate his improvised fiction about how his low beams worked.


Now, I’m not sure why it was so important to pull the guy over for a headlight issue in what seems to be pretty clear daylight in the first place. But I suppose something had to connect these two unhappy people.

Nobody is what they seem here. The contemptuous use of the honorific “sir” by both parties throughout just makes the exchange even more painful.


I think both these guys should be forced to park their cars next to one another, each should be handed a screwdriver, a headlight bulb, and a six-pack, and they’re not allowed to leave until they both have working low-beams and are drunk enough to give each other a hug.

CORRECTION: Enough owners have written to tell me that the fogs do, in fact, come on with the low-beams. I apologize to everyone involved. The video is still just as strange, though, but I rescind any suggestion of lying about low-beams.


(thanks, Rick!)

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!:

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My old Pathfinder works the way that he’s insisting his Tacoma works. It has fogs that only work when the low beams are on. Flip the highbeams and the fogs go out.