As a young fella much like yourselves (I got my driver’s license in 1964) I spent the first several decades of my driving career happily engaging the brights by using my otherwise useless left foot to depress a button on the floorboard. It was without question the safest, easiest, most logical means of activating the bright lights. Why, for the last 20(?) years have I had to take my hand off the wheel to engage or disengage the brights? I trust that even you knuckleheads can enlighten me.

Personally with a manual transmission, I prefer the usual position.  I need two feet to drive, I don't want to use on to do the brights.  BTW I got my license about the same time you did.

I?m about the same vintage. I learned to drive on a Dodge automatic, button the floor, and a VW Beetle, switch on the turn signal. Since the VW required a lot of shifting I far preferred the switch on the turn signal. With hands in the proper position the switch was only a short index finger reach away.

I’m not quite as old as you, I got my license in 1981. But, my first ‘daily driver’ was a '77 T-bird with the hi-beam switch on the floor. Since then, all the cars I’ve had came with the turn signal-mounted hi-beam switch. I found this much more convenient, especially for ‘flash-pass’, which I use much more than the hi-beam always on. I was glad when the domestic car makers, Ford and GM, switched to that in the '80s.

I got my driver’s license in the same year that you did, and I feel exactly the opposite about the control for the high beam headlights.

The floor button was sometimes hard to find underneath floor mats that did not always fit properly.
Sometimes, in an emergency, the button did not seem to be where my thick-soled shoes expected to find it.
Some folks in the rust belt reported that the wiring connections were ruined after a few years, due to their exposure to the elements.

I think that it comes down to one’s ability to adapt to change.
Just because something is different does not mean that it is incorrect.
If someone has a hard time adapting to change, he/she will find fault with anything in his/her environment that is different.

You need to accept the reality that this is the way that car manufacturers have chosen to control headlight high beams nowadays. I happen to think that this newer approach is far superior. You may feel differently, but the fact remains that this is a reality and it should not present a major problem for you in your everyday life. It this does present a major problem for you, then perhaps it is time to reassess both your priorities and your ability to adapt to change.

You must have very short fingers! On nearly any car these days, you do not have to take your hand off the wheel to dim the lights. Just reach down and pull up the stalk. On European cars you even have the ability to flip the brights on temporarily to warn other drivers. If you drive too slow in the passing lane in Germany, drivers behind you will flip their brights on to tell you to move over.

P.S. I got my driver’s license in 1956.

What was it printed on papyrus? height in “twice the distance from the Kings nose to finger tip”, just kidding.

Take a look at the type of switch on the floor, it had a much higher amperage capability, which made it expensive. Compare that to a less “robust” switch that can be used with a relay and mounted where dirt is not a problem, now the switch is part of the T/S switch (unless you like those little flags VW used in the early 50’s).

“Otherwise useless left foot.”

Some of learned to drive vehicles with manual transmissions, and our left feet had quite enough to keep them busy. I, too, remember the floor-mounted dimmer switches, but I think the column-mounted switches of today are a vast improvement.

I’ve never had to remove my hand from the steering wheel to reach the dimmer switch. I don’t know why you have to take your hand off the wheel.

Why would anyone need to take their hands off of the steering wheel to turn on or off the bright lights?

It’s no different than using the turn signals or windshield wipers.

The question that needs to be answered and can only be answered by you is - “Why, for the last 20(?) years have I had to take my hand off the wheel to engage or disengage the brights?”