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Back up lights

One feature on some modern cars that bothers me is that the back-up lights come on when the motorist hits the key fob to unlock the car but isn’t even in the car.
I can be driving down an aisle in a parking lot and think the car is backing out when in fact there is nobody in the car and it isn’t moving
I may be overly sensitive to this since I have had people back into me backing out of parking spaces. I wonder if others have the same concern.

I’ve noticed that too, wondered “Why’s it doing that”. Makes no sense to me.

With so many SUV’s looking alike having the rear lights flash can help someone find their vehicle in a crowded parking lot.

If the reverse lights only flash, and don’t stay on, I see no reason to sweat it. Heck, they flash when someone shifts from park to drive too.

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Yes, it does appear confusing. The most dangerous places to be is a Publix parking lot in Florida. Everything that can assist in dodging cars ambling down the aisles with semi blind (actually sight impaired and attention impaired) drivers. I never walk to the right with traffic behind me, always left towards traffic. I can see and dodge cars trying to hit me.

I don’t mind the rear lights flashing. It could even be the back-up lights. I object to the backup lights being on as if the car is backing up when nobody is in the car.

Yep, I have no problem with red lights on or flashing, or backups flashing. But these backups stay on. Confusing.

I’ve trained my kids to not walk behind cars in parking lots that have back up lights on. Now I can see theres no driver so when I get too close to a car like that my son tries to tackle me. He thinks he’s saving my life.

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annoys me a lot too…
looks like it is specific to US “big 3” only
I see it all the time on GM and Chrysler, never seen it in EU or Japanese vehicles

I am glad to see posters agree with me. According to Mrs. Triedaq, I am usually thinking against the wind. My own view is if the backup lights are on (and not blinking), this means that the vehicle is backing up. It’s a visual indication of the intent of the driver. I guess the reason some manufacturers have the backup lights come on when one approaches the car is to light the path to the car.
I go back to the days when backup lights weren’t standard equipment. My 1965 did not have backup lights and I had them installed. It disturbs me that designers at some auto manufacturers chose to use them for another purpose.

The car doesn’t know if you’re in a well lit parking space or out in BFE. The front and rear lights illuminate as a safety precaution so you can see if someone is hiding around/inside your car or something is in the way as you approach. Regarding the latter, cameras can only show so much compared to what you can see as you approach the car to get in…

I drive in parking lots as if someone is poised to back out of every space. Been surprised too many times by cars with zero lights that just come blazing out like there’s no chance anyone might be in the way…

Being in the isles of the store isn’t that different. These people walk as poorly as they drive.

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You forgot the 4 foot tall people, whose cars look like a driverless vehicle.

I look for knuckles on the steering wheel! :grin:


That–of course–is totally logical.
However, I often see people walk right in back of vehicles that have their back-up lights lit up.
Just this afternoon, I saw a middle-aged woman walk so close to the back of a Mercedes SUV with its back-up lights lit-up that she could have easily touched its back window.

Brain dead?
Or death wish?

Yes. This is a really asinine move on GM’s part. It’s especially annoying with the serial remote stabbers. You know, the people who click that button 5 or 10 times, and maybe click it while they’re sitting in a coffee shop looking at their car. Reverse lights pop on, I think they’re backing out and I can get the spot and…

My wife finds them irritating too, so you have at least two more people on your side. :wink:


I’ve had people zip by the back of my car after I’ve started backing up.
Luckily I always move back slowly.

Yeah I’m sitting there with the engine on, brakes on, and shifter in reverse and people still like to sneak around the back of the car. Maybe they’re on their phones but my fault if I hit them. When I unlock the car, the lights and back-up lights are only on for a few seconds so really not a problem and it helps to find your car if you have forgotten or were thinking of other things when you parked. Sometimes though just for fun I like to hit the remote start button when I come out the door.

At the high school where I worked for over 30 years, when I finally left each day-long after my official ending of the day–more often than not, once I had reversed 50-75% out of my parking space, cars would ZOOM past the back of my car.

No, this risky behavior was not done by students. In fact, it was the brain-dead parents of students who would almost always choose to ZOOM past my car while I was backing-out from my assigned parking space.

They zip by in cars.
They zip by on foot.
Once a bicyclist brushed by my 50% backed out car and fell.
Before I could get out of the car he shouted “sorry” and rode off.
I guess he didn’t have time to discuss possible damage to the bike or car (I couldn’t find a mark).