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Anti-Static Bumper Strips

Useless!Possibly the nearest Halfords ever got to practising complementary medicine, these odd little rubber strips with arrows down the middle hung from the rear bumper of your average Volvo estate and dangled on the tarmac, ostensibly to keep junior in the back seat free from travel sickness by leaching out any static electricity from the car’s interior. Needless to say, this bout of holistic blokeishness was based on the same brand of opportunistic cobblers as copper bracelets for rheumatism. Soon after installing them, many a well-meaning but gullible dad was duly shamed by his slightly less daft mates over a swift half, and a mass outbreak of macho embarrassment practically killed off the anti-static strip overnight, although you still see the odd threadbare example clinging for dear life to the back of a decrepit 340E.



  1. Sam Randall

    August 9, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I once had to sit through a car journey with a torn up brown paper bag wrapped around my middle, because my auntie had read somewhere that it was a guaranteed cure for travel sickness… and since that was one of the times I didn’t recycle my lunch all over the back of her mini, it was pronounced a resounding success.

  2. Peter Lee

    August 9, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    As a child I used to suffer from car sickness and was regularly sick into bags of crisps, biscuit tins, my hood etc. on the way to Abersoch, usually after the dream combo of eating far too many Cheddars and my Dad going a little too quickly over the bridge outside RAF Valley (now flattened). After trying a variety of small pink tablets with names like Joy Rides or Kwells with little success a relative heard that NASA astronauts stuck small pieces of Sellotape onto the cartilage behind their ears, so this was the next thing to be tried on me. Maybe it was due to the tape, or the fact that I was getting older and my sense of balance was improving by the day, but I wasn’t sick that year.

    We never had one of the dangling strips, or any other “comedy” boot item such as stick-on fingers or a plastic arm – such things would have been a blemish on the family Allegro.

  3. Matt P

    October 28, 2009 at 1:41 am

    I used to get travel sick in the back of the Triumph 2000 estate, but that may have been because of the pipe smoke. Anyway, my Eagle-eyed Action Man ended up with bleach-blonde hair after one particular road trip…

  4. Richard Davies

    June 22, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I remember it seemed that Mk3 Escorts had these as a standard fitting, as so many from about 1982 to 1985 were seen with a set.

    I remember joyrides being fairly effective at curing travel sickness. Without any precautions I managed to turn a couple of pages of a Beano book into what seemed to be a lost Jackson Pollock mingling with the Bash Street Kids!

    My sister found that seabands worked well, before she started wearing them she managed to befoul my foot 2 corners before we got to my aunt’s house!

  5. Joanne Gray

    May 5, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    I got told that those strips were there to stop drivers getting a static electric shock when they were getting into their cars because of all the metal surfaces they touched (such as keys and door handles).

  6. PCL

    August 6, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    They sold those things here in the USA after a small spate of fires caused by drivers or station attendants inserting a gasoline hose into the filler of a car that had built up a static charge from the friction of the tires rolling on the pavement. If my memory serves me well, it was common on late 1980s Ford Escorts, though I saw similar chains on some trucks during that time. I assume it was something about the tire tread pattern or maybe the rubber compound that turned these vehicles into giant Van De Graff generators.

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