Mouth-froth by Jacob Black

Can you think of a single reason why a car, sans occupants with the doors locked, and the engine off would need any of its lights on for more than a few seconds? No? Me either!

So why on earth are interior lights not wired to go off automatically when the car is off? Why, oh why, did last year I return to one press vehicle after three days to find its battery 100 percent drained by an interior light?

This is 2014 for crying out loud. We have cars that beep, cars that tweet, cars that sneak, cars that suck and cars that sweep – but we don’t have cars that turn off their lights?

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not in the habit of locking people in my car when I leave it – and if I was, I don’t reckon giving them a light to read by would be high on my priority list.

Some of you are now saying things like, “But Jacob, why would you turn your interior light on in the first place?!”

Excellent question.

I didn’t. My daughter did.

See, when you have children, they like to press buttons. And when they are in the back seat, and you park in daylight, you might not notice that they have turned on all the reading lights their little hands could reach. That wouldn’t be a drama – if lights didn’t stay on for No. Good. Reason.


Our cars are so clever now. They know it’s us opening the door, they even know which one of us it is. They know where we want the chair, the mirror, what radio stations we listen to (Backspin, baby!), and yet they haven’t figured out that lights aren’t needed when the car is shut down?

If lights went off batteries wouldn’t die, people wouldn’t be stranded in parking lots, people with anxiety disorders would have one less thing to worry about – trust me, I’ve seen loved ones get up four times in a night to make sure they turned the lights off in the car.

If lights went off when the doors were locked and the car had been parked, they wouldn’t be as enticing to thieves.

If lights went off when the car was parked – you wouldn’t have to read this rant!

There are many reasons why this should happen on every car, immediately. I can’t think of a single good reason why you would want them to stay on.

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Maybe if you were a doer of no good you might use your interior lights as a code? “Oh bummer, front dome light on, rear door light off – Jimmy’s all out of crack tonight guys.”

Or maybe you have the world’s best seat covers and want your entire neighbourhood to be able to enjoy (viewing) them (all night long)?

Those are the only reasons I can think of why someone would want their interior lights on after they’ve parked. So why don’t manufacturers wire this sensible bit of logic into their cars? I mean, motorcycles and scooters can shut down lights with the key – and many cars these days have welcome lights, timed lights, dimming lights, coloured lights, lights that help you apply your make up and lights that make your selfies look better – so why, oh why, can’t they just turn off?

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