Recently I have noticed cars in parking lots with their reverse lights on even when the driver is not behind the wheel. I stop to let the drivers back out, and then realize they have no such intention. I don't know what that signal is telling me.

On cars with this feature, in what situations do the reverse lights come on?

What is the purpose of this feature?

Has this feature been implemented pursuant to a government regulation, a recommendation from an industry body, or some other published source? (I have searched, but found nothing.)

If there is a white paper or something for this feature, does it discuss the possibility that drivers may begin to ignore reverse lights?

2 Answers 2


They are being used as approach lights. When someone unlocks their car with the remote the car turns on lights around the car. I think the idea is to light up the ground around the car for you to better see where you are stepping and maybe for security. Some cars turn on the headlights, interior lights, parking lights etc. You point does make turning on the back up lights for this seem like a bad idea.

  • 2
    I've been fooled by this on a couple of occasions. They really should not be using the reverse lights.
    – Nick
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 21:05
  • 1
    I know when I unlock my pickup, the reverse lights come on ... I have an LED light bar which indicates reverse as well. This really illuminates behind the truck. Works great so I can actually see where I'm going and what I'm stepping on. Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 14:07
  • the bad thing about these in India is they light up even in broad daylight, few days back wasted 2mins behind a car in parking lot hoping that the car is moving out from the spot
    – Nilabja
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 5:02

They are generally known as 'Welcome Home Lights'. They are used to illuminate the vehicle when you 'plip' it, perhaps in an unfamilar carpark. They also stay on after locking the vehicle to illuminate its parking area. Other drivers will know that poeple are on the ground around the vehicle, perhaps a small child. They have a 'turned on' period adjusted by the driver with dash buttons on thier display. Overall they are a worthwhile safety feature.

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