So, I’ve seen this a lot in my many years of wandering the roads in America. I’m still baffled by it: why are people putting their automatic cars in park when stopped at a stop light?

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I’ve seen both regular and taxi drivers do this in all the cities and towns I’ve visited. I can always tell when people do it, too, because the backup lights come on briefly from passing the shifter through reverse to land in park.

In fact, I distinctly remember a friend in high school who did this. We rode up to a stoplight in her Honda Accord and rather than sit at the light with her foot on the brake like I assumed most people did, she put it in park and took her foot off the brake! It was mystifying!

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Don’t you feel better with your brake lights on when you’re stopped to make extra sure that nobody rear-ends you?

I asked my colleagues. They were all equally bewildered. Except for David, who said that he sometimes put his car in neutral when stopped at a light.

“Because the car’s got too much torque and too little brakes,” he explained matter-of-factly. “Requires too much pressure at long stop lights. Very annoying.”

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The only times I can remember that I’ve put my car in park when I’m not parking were times when I was sitting in 45-plus-minute traffic jams on the highway with no hint of movement up ahead. In those cases, most of us just turned our cars off.

But for every day waiting-at-the-stoplight? Never.

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Do you do this? Why?