Last week, during four of the darkest days of the year I did a small survey of who’s driving without lights on during my thirty mile commute to and from work through Maryland and Northern Virginia. Not only was it almost dark by 4:45 last week, but those days were all pretty rainy, and visibility was minimal. Bafflingly, I counted 28 people driving their cars without their lights on during this period of time. Here is what these people were driving:

Brand Cars Driving Without Lights % of Total
Toyota 10 36%
Honda 6 21%
Lexus 3 11%
Ford 3 11%
Hyundai 2 7%
Nissan 2 7%
Range Rover 1 4%
Dodge 1 4%
Total: 28

Toyota drivers blew this one out of the park with a solid lead of 36%, and if you add in the Lexus drivers (which are basically Toyota drivers with more money), you get 47%. Almost half of the people driving around the DC area without their lights on in the dark and in the rain are either behind the wheel of Toyota or a Lexus. Why?

My guess is that many people who drive Toyotas prioritize driving right below thinking about what they’re going to have for lunch next week. Driving matters so little to them, that they can’t be bothered by turning lights on. I would venture to say that having your lights off when it’s dark is probably the biggest sign of being a clueless and checked out driver. I would also venture to say that many people who buy Toyotas do so without even considering another brand. Their last car was a Toyota, and it was reliable, so why not another Toyota?

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The other potential option is that Toyotas may not have dashboards that dim when it gets dark to remind you to turn on the lights. Can someone confirm if this is the case?

Of note, Honda came second in the list, but interestingly, five of those six Hondas were seen on Wednesday afternoon. I’m not sure why.

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I plan on doing a longer survey soon, but considering this was the darkest work week of the year, I wanted to get this data out there.