The feature can be quite infuriating for other drivers perusing parking lots looking for a space, only to realize no one is even inside the GM car. The lights can stay on for up to two minutes.
GM’s reason behind the feature is to illuminate the surrounding area for drivers to avoid various things on the ground, be it a spill, puddles, holes, you name it. And GM isn’t breaking any federal laws by doing so.
The federal vehicle lighting regulations merely say a car must have at least one reverse light, the lights must illuminate when a car is in the “Reverse” gear, the lights must burn steadily and the lights can never come on while the car is moving forward.
In GM vehicles, the lights meet all of these regulations, and when the illuminate while parked, they’re not breaking any rules, either.
Perhaps some owners like the feature, which can also help identify the car in a parking lot at night, but it’s understandable how frustrating it might be for other drivers. Thankfully, the option can be defeated within the car’s settings menu.