A Car Safety Feature that Could get You Killed!

One of my cars has a so-called safety feature that concerns me.  As soon as you put it into gear, the lights automatically come on.  Now under normal circumstances this is not bad.  It definitely makes you safer during normal driving.

But what about during an emergency situation in which you want to move the car and avoid detection.  If you need to leave a location or move your car clandestinely at night, you need to be able to turn the lights off.  Imagine throwing it into gear and the lights automatically come on.  Your cover is now blown.

Many of the newer vehicles have this feature.  Now I am not going to tell you now to turn this off on your car, because frankly I don’t know.  They are all different.  What I am going to suggest is that if this is a concern to you, find out how to turn this feature off on your vehicle.  On some vehicles, you may be able to pull a fuse, on others you may need to cut a wire.  If you are a good mechanic, you may want to install a manual cutoff switch.

Don’t forget the brake lights come on when you hit the brakes.  Don’t drive with these lights out except in a life or death emergency.

Just something, you might want to think about.


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7 Responses to A Car Safety Feature that Could get You Killed!

  1. Common Sense says:

    Without a good knowledge of the system on your car (the vast majority, if not all North American vehicles have electronic controls now), you can run the risk of never being able to turn them back on.

    A middle of the road suggestion is to come up with “blackout” covers for your lights, or at least enough tape and heavy material to use in an emergency.

    A modifier to this is to cover up most of the lights, but leave a very small space that is only covered with a thin material. In this way you can have a makeshift “blackout drive” light, as the military has purpose built into it’s vehicles. You would have to experiment with it, but this would allow you to move slowly but safely and generally the light can only be seen as far away as the engine noise can be heard, if not less.

  2. TimV says:

    On a new Ford F150, when you open one of the doors, at least six interior lights come on, the parking lights, and a light under each of the external rear view mirrors also come on. The lights fade on quickly, so the function is computer controlled.

    I’m not sure how you would disable that computer function, except to choose an older vehicle that does not decide what lights you need to have on.

    • Paul-L says:

      Maybe so …
      Computerized car technology is sometimes “less than wonderful”.

      BUT, an “old school low-tech” solution might be something as simple as installing a small metal tab with a ‘swivel-screw’ on one end to hold the switch down – simulating the door still being closed.
      Sure beats using duct tape on a switch!

  3. Tom says:

    How about removing the bulbs in an emergency?

  4. ke4sky says:

    Another option is to purchase a used, unmarked former police vehicle at auction, or to ask the service techs at the dealership if they could do the “mod” for you. In Ford Crown Vics, Chevy Suburbans and Ford Explorers, all popular public safety vehicles, the headlights, taillights and interior lighting can be software programmed for manual switching. I don’t know about other vehicles.

  5. Jakob Stagg says:

    You have to wonder about a government that does nothing but make it easier to locate, track, and monitor what we do. It is not as if there are not REAL problems and THREATS to which they should be attending.

    None of this was a problem when cars had a crank on the front.

  6. Stryker says:

    My father’s “plain clothes” police cruisers always had interior light door switches disabled in the front. Not the rear, but that is a specific use case. Also, don’t forget the trunk. If you need light, that’s what your flashlight is for.

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