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  1. The reverse lights activating on GMs when they’re actually not reversing is one of the most useless and confusing decisions I’ve ever seen made by a manufacturer. Why???!?! Like seriously, why?!?!?? There’s literally no reason for it. All it does is aggravate you that you wasted a minute of your time, thinking this Buick is going to back out of a spot, and it never does. Speaking from first-hand experience. Thank you for pointing this out Doug. 👍

    1. It’s to light up the area, actually works great in dark places , but yes suck when you don’t know if they are backing out or not

    2. @@Drewdayz2419 I agree there is a slight benefit in very niche situations. I think a better alternative is illuminating the actual brake lights. It would provide nearly as much light, not ruin night vision, and not confuse onlookers.

    3. ​@@thecheshirecat299Might affect them by making someone come up to them and asking what the hell they’re waiting for to back up

    4. It does have a purpose, it’s a courtesy light that provides more natural lighting. If it was just the brake lights, your entire garage would be shrouded in red like a horror movie. If you pull in to your driveway your headlights might do the job just fine, but if you have a big enough brain to back in like the rest of higher society, those reverse lights illuminate your surrounding area / garage with less harsh, more natural lighting so that you can see where you’re walking and/or you can fumble through and see which key you need to now unlock your door and get inside. One tip I read from someone else is:

      if you see those reverse lights on in a parking lot and the car isn’t moving, check to see if the third brake light is also illuminated and that would be your sign that there isn’t someone in that car waiting to back up.

  2. My wife and I were in a parking lot last weekend, and said the same thing. Waiting for the guy to back out, then seeing him walk away and those lights are on. During the day. Poor product design/development.

  3. The only thing dumber than the GM reverse light issue is that they stopped using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Even if I was dumb enough to buy a GM vehicle that’s going to keep me away every time.

  4. BTW, in most GM cars that do this, you can turn it off (it also only comes on at night or dark areas). My suburban & Saab 9-7x both do this by default. I turned that setting off as soon as i got them. It’s normally listed under “perimeter lighting” in vehicle settings, for me I turn it off but on some GM cars it will give the option to use other lights instead of reverse.

    I don’t remember GMs reason for it but I kinda get the idea behind it, lets say you’re on a road trip & you arrive at your destination so then you park in a dimly lit garage or dark parking lot, the reverse lights stay on so you could get out, grab your luggage from the back & if you set it on the ground you’d still be able to see it because the reverse lights illuminated the ground (& typically when you shut the hatch on a car without this feature the interior lights would turn off leaving you in the dark).

  5. Buick: “Can I copy your homework?”
    Tesla: “Sure but make some minor changes so it’s not completely the same”

  6. I feel the exact same way with Automatic lights – lights are off, go into a tunnel or shaded area and the lights come on – but for a brief moment it can often appear that the car is braking when in fact it is not.

    Given cars like BMWs exist this should be considered an un-safety feature.

    (BMWs are rarely seen with lights working properly, it is not uncommon for the rear lights to shine brighter than standard (or even the incredibly rare properly functioning BMW), making the lights look more like braking than normal lights would in the same situation).

    1. That’s what the mandatory third brake light is for. If you see only two red lights coming on on the car in front, they just turned on their low beams, no matter how bright the taillights are. If there are three lights coming on, they are braking.

    2. @@wowdogeful – yeah that’s great, but given how often they (the mandatory third brake light) break (BMW or other brand) it shouldn’t be something that road users rely on, so my point still stands.

    3. @@sambeaumont395 I have literally never seen any car with broken third brake light that wasn’t a 25 year old rusted out Mercedes Sprinter with Romanian license plates. This kind of stuff is literally the first thing they check during the mandatory tech inspection and there is absolutely no way they let you pass without working brake lights. I think it’s odd that you put BMW at fault for this when they were among the first ones to introduce a control circuit that displays a warning in the dash if your brake light isn’t working; they introduced this on the E30 3 series and literally every BMW since then has it. If you see a BMW with broken brake light, it’s literally just the driver’s fault for ignoring the warning.

    4. @@sambeaumont395 I have never seen any car with broken third brake light that wasn’t a 25 year old rusted out Mercedes Sprinter with Romanian license plates. This kind of stuff is the first thing they check during the mandatory tech inspection and there is absolutely no way they let you pass without working brake lights. I think it’s odd that you put BMW at fault for this when they were among the first ones to introduce a control circuit that displays a warning in the dash if your brake light isn’t working; they introduced this on the E30 3 series and literally every BMW since then has it. If you see a BMW with broken brake light, it’s literally just the driver’s fault for ignoring the warning.

    5. @@wowdogeful just going on what I see, but lucky you if you don’t see it where you live.

      As I said, for a brief moment it appears as if the car in front is braking when the lights come on, when going into a tunnel/darker spot.
      If I brake the guy behind me brakes a little harder and so on, this is dangerous.

      As for BMW – I commonly see even late model versions with brighter than standard brake lights, which elevates the risk indicated above.

      The third brake light is more commonly an issue in older vehicles (all makes) yes but still happens in more modern and even brand new vehicles including BMW – saw one this morning in fact – not sure which model specifically but must have been fairly new cause it had the giant kidney grills.

      The Car checks here are annual so plenty of time for things to go wrong in between. Even if a cop pulls you up for it (would be unlikely here unless other issue or end of month looking for quotas) they aren’t going to demand the vehicle off the road, not sure the specific timeframe but it’s something like 30 days to fix to void a fine.

  7. I recall that the reason for the lights is because GM is marketed strongly toward rural areas in the US and the reverse lighting was initially a feature that appealed to those of middle america where street lighting and homes in the middle of farmland had blackout conditions. Growing up, I would visit family in upstate NY & when you get back home at night it certainly helps to have those reverse lights stay on.

    Of course, living in SoCal my whole life has made me hate the feature. It always annoys me to see GM cars in busy parking lots. So nowadays I just drive by without a care, i’ll only stop if i see all 3 brake lights on, too; as thats an actual indicator of someone being in the car and wanting to pull out of a space.

    Never knew it could be deactivated though, wish GM dealers would tell people that so it would be less of an annoyance.

  8. Additionally, this annoying feature can cause unneeded distress if you see reverse lights illuminated an empty car. The first time I discovered this, I thought a negligent driver forgot to put their car in park and walked away from it.

  9. I F’n hate GM for continuing to use this feature (reverse lights when car is in park) on their cars!

  10. Doug already knows this. Back up lights come on when the GM vehicle is unlocked. I am guessing since the early 2000’s

  11. If you can’t tell someone is backing up vs a gm vehicle that was just exited then that’s on you. Typically brakes are being applied when backing up. It’s not that hard to tell folks. It’s a good feature for lighting the area around you at night.

  12. It’s great on fleet vehicles with back up alarms. Unlock it at the pump and have a metronome soundtrack for the walk

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