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You Missed the Reason Not to Shift into Park at Stoplights

Every time the guy who called shifts into Park at a stoplight, he goes past Reverse and flashes the backup lights.

That’s going to freak out the guy behind him, without fail!

/Mr Lynn

And why not slip it into neutral?

How about (1) its easier to remain in gear then switch into park; and (2) to be in gear in case you need to get out someone’s way (rare, I realize).

As long as the reverse lights don’t stay on, there is no reason for the driver behind him to freak out. If the reverse lights stay on, however, I would be concerned.

Love to hear what Click and Clack would say about this. Listening to Car Talk on Armed Forces Radio in Japan recently, I'd wondered about this too because all Japanese drivers are trained to do practically this at every stoplight or short stop. Drivers select neutral and apply the park brake. With any transmission. Unfailingly.

As it's a rule everybody follows, the officials must have had a reason for requiring this. Nine times out of 10 it's safety. My idea why was that since the brake pressure needed to hold a car still and not moving forward when stopped at a light is minor, if you were to be hit from behind, there's a possibility that you would be projected into the intersection or car stopped in front of you, or pedestrians in the crosswalk. But if the car was in park, these may not happen.

"That's going to freak out the guy behind him, without fail!"

I don't think people will freak with it's done with the brake lights also on.

If you go from Park to Drive, passing Reverse, the lights barely flash. I see it all the time (like in parking lots, and the like), and there’s never a doubt what they did. I don’t think too many people would actually be freaked out…

How many people actually look at the lights on the car in front of them? Where would you go if the person in front of you suddenly backed up?

I wouldn’t go anywhere. I would honk my horn in the hope of preventing a collision.

This technique is sponsored by TRU (transmission repair union).

What a stupid thing to do. I can understand neutral if you are going to be there for more than a short stop - but park?

The department of energy conservation of New York actually recommends that drivers shift into park for longer stops, to save fuel.

Makes sense when the bridge is up or something.

I really don’t think you’re saving ANY gas by shifting it into Neutral or Park.

You may, in fact, be using more.

If you’re in gear, the engine will run at ~500-700 RPM. Idle is higher. :slight_smile:

^^ Because there is no load on the engine turning the torque converter! A higher engine speed under no load (except for the belt-driven items) does not equal more fuel being burned.

But don’t worry, in a few years all new nanny-state cars will just turn themselves off when you slow down or stop. You won’t have a choice (other than to buy an older car or sporty model without that).

Hallkbrdz, you may be right sooner than we all realize.

Hallkbrdz, I will just keep my '93 Nissan (manual transmission) on the road longer.

I my wife’s car (automatic transmission) I put it in neutral at a traffic light, and if I am going to be there for a while I pull the brake. Why have the car in neutral at a stopped position, I can pop into drive quickly if I need to move it.

I personally think it is strange to put the car in park if you are not parking, but here in FL you will see a lot of reverse lights flash when a traffic light turns green.

only time i shift out of drive is when I park my car. Why bother messing with the lever when you could just as easily forget about it when the light turns green and just sit there revving your engine like a ricer

" I’d wondered about this too because all Japanese drivers are trained to do practically this at every stoplight or short stop. Drivers select neutral and apply the park brake. With any transmission. Unfailingly."

Post war Asians (and Europeans) don’t drive big American boats with automatic transmissions. They drive small cars with manual transmissions. Shifting to neutral after coming to a stop is a customary handshake of stick shift drivers. Also, Japan is a bunch of hilly volcanos. Stick shift cars tend to roll on a hill if parking brake is not set. I think these two factors contribute to the neutral shift and parking brake habit that has been passed from one generation to the next, even if shifting to neutral does more harm than good to automatics.

Personally, I pull the parking brake at a red light. But the car stays in D on the occasion that I drive an auto. I don’t understand why people want to shift to P at a light. When the light turns green, getting going is a 3 steps affair (step on brake, shift, press the gas), whereas I simply lower the brake handle while stepping on the gas.

Back up lights, what about the brain child of (I think Chevy)…When it’s parked and I think the key put in or taken out, the back up lights come on for a few minutes, I guess to help the driver seeing when they get out. Well pull into a store and a vehicle has it’s back up lights on you stop waiting for them to move…nobody’s in the car. What ever Guinness came up with this feature should be fired.

For maximum safety and control, leave the car in drive. Intersections are the most dangerous place the be stopped. You want to be able to take evasive action immediately if needed.