Getting pulled over due to regen brake lights?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by M.M., Oct 22, 2018.

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  1. M.M.

    M.M. Active Member

    I got pulled over tonight (first time in 23 years of driving!) for running a stop sign that, after checking my dash cam, I most definitely didn't run. The cop seemed to genuinely think I'd run it ("blew through", and asking a couple of times if I didn't see it), so it got me wondering whether it's possible that using mostly regen to stop and minimizing use of the brake pedal might (in the dark or from a distance) make it look like you just tapped the brakes for a second, creating the illusion of not stopping.

    Has anybody else had an experience like that?

    A while ago I tested with someone behind the car and learned that with four chevrons of regen the brake lights do come on, unless you touch the accelerator, which turns them back off (even if it's only lightly so you're still getting most of the regen). What I haven't bothered to confirm is if the brake lights still come on with four chevrons at very low (say, <10mph) speeds, like when you're creeping up to a stop sign and not really getting much regen. If they don't come on (or you only use three chevrons intentionally or by accident), I wonder if that looks to other drivers like you're basically not braking at all.

    It's also, of course, possible that the cop mistook my car for a different one in the dark, or that he was just fishing for drunks, since he didn't cite me, but he was pretty friendly and my impression was he honestly thought I'd driven right through it. This for reference is in a small town not known for predatory traffic stops, on a low-speed-limit-road.
    Daniel M W and VTSAX like this.
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  3. jeff10236

    jeff10236 Member

    I hadn't thought about that. I'll have to be careful. The cops around here love pulling people over for tickets at intersections. Last ticket I got (about 6 years ago) was for "running" a stop sign when I did come to a complete stop, but apparently I didn't stop long enough. Before that (about 10-15 years ago), I had a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt when I took it off for about 10sec at a red light so I could get some Kleenex out of my pocket (the cop was behind me and saw me take it off and put it back on, I assumed I was OK until his lights came on since I was at a stop). I'll have to be sure to make a conscious effort to use my brakes more and regen less at stops.
  4. JCEV

    JCEV Active Member

    I had someone follow me once and they said my brake lights never came on with Regen . Not sure if you have to be decelerating at a certain speed ? Say going up hill?!
    Daniel M W likes this.
  5. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    I used to play with the paddles but realized that friction brake doesn't engage until the very end during normal braking. If you brake hard, it combines both. The brake pedal can provide much more regen braking than the four chevrons of the paddles. To see for yourself, go to four chevrons when getting off the freeway and notice the how much regen you're getting on the power meter. While still going fast, press on the brake progressively. You'll see there's still a lot of regen braking available beyond the paddles. I just use the brake pedal now unless I'm coasting down a hill.
    jdonalds likes this.
  6. kcsunshine

    kcsunshine Active Member

    Can someone try the regen braking light test at various speeds and number of chevrons? Communicate by phone so you can tell the number of chevrons and how long the light stays on. Video if you can. I would do the test myself but I rarely have a friend following me and traffic is bad in my area.
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  8. Gearhead

    Gearhead Member

    If your brake lights weren't on then you had no more than 3 chevrons of regen braking. That didn't stop the car, did it?
  9. bamba415

    bamba415 New Member

    I wonder if we are overthinking the regen breaking. The Clarity is the first automatic I've owned in a long time. In a manual I'm pretty religious about downshifting (even on the highway) and almost always to first gear when coming to a complete stop. I've never been rear ended and I don't recall anyone honking at me. I really only think about it unless someone is right behind me.
  10. marshall

    marshall Well-Known Member

    If you drive like 99.9% folks around here, you never came to a complete stop. We use to call it a California stop.
    Robin likes this.
  11. Vezz66

    Vezz66 Member

    We call it an American stop.

    Non-scientific study, I have the impression EV car drivers slow down more than ICE drivers.

    Personally, I usually come to a complete stop with the Clarity, because I can then accelerate more when I start. And I can't afford any tickets.
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  13. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    The Clarity does slow more than an ICE car when you take your foot off the accelerator. I notice often the person following me will get right up on my tail when I do that, even though they weren't tailgating me before. Since they don't see brake lights, they don't hit the brakes until they're on top of me.
  14. M.M.

    M.M. Active Member

    I went back to review the video and confirm my impressions, and I'm now pretty sure that this wasn't the brake lights but mistaken identity (or flat-out lying, although the cops around here don't have that reputation).

    The officer (again, thanks to the dashcam, I have a recording of exactly what he said to me) identified the intersection I ran: "...not the one right here at I and 11th, the one at, uh, I and 10th.", which I didn't even drive through. He also couldn't have been mistaken about I and 10th actually being H and 11th, because there was a car turning in front of me at that stop sign which I had to wait several seconds for.

    That said, how the brake lights behave is still of significant interest to me if for no other reason than that I want to know how other drivers perceive my driving, and minimize the chance of getting rear-ended.
    I'm in California and see rolling stops every day, but I don't drive like 99.9% of people around here, which is probably why I haven't even been pulled over, let alone cited, in 23 years behind the wheel. I could of course have an inflated opinion of my driving paranoia, except I have dashcam video of the whole drive to confirm I did indeed stop.

    I've noticed that the brake pedal will add significantly to the regen amount over four chevrons (the behavior is significantly different with a nearly-full battery, and I suspect ties in with the ICE-start-on-hill thing). Like the Volt, in reality you probably don't get that much more overall regen if you exclusively use the brake pedal and don't lead-foot it.

    That said, I still use the paddles a lot for this reason: Because the regen is pretty "mushy" it encourages me to drive gently, maximizing efficiency, and not hard stop to the point that friction braking needs to kick in. It probably increases my efficiency only slightly as a result, but I find it a good psychological tool. It also means less work for my leg, and I'm lazy.

    I'd noticed this as well, and it bugs me. I get that to mimic the "feel" of a regular automatic transmission why you'd want a little bit of regen even with zero/one chevrons, but the amount of regen is significantly more drag than in any automatic transmission ICE I have personally owned. It makes the car feel "heavy" to me for no particular reason. Shifting to neutral while slowing down gradually on an off-ramp or the like is almost shocking in how much farther the car will cost; you can also do this by pushing on the accelerator just a tiny bit to get the energy gauge to zero.
    ClarityDoc likes this.
  15. dnb

    dnb Active Member

    Speaking of the break lights, has anyone tested if the car uses break lights during ACC when slightly slowing? I love ACC but have wondered if the car is randomly throwing break lights
  16. kcsunshine

    kcsunshine Active Member

    New Jersey has a move called the jersey slide for trying to exit right from the left lane in a short distance. I attribute it to poorly designed roads and shortage of signs. The roads are poorly designed because of a lack of planning and the need to squeeze more roads to accommodate traffic. It is like spaghetti. NJ is also famous for jug handle turns. I'm sure the jersey slide happens in Orlando a lot.
  17. Candice

    Candice Active Member

    I have tested the regen and the brake lights change in different circumstances. During daylight, the brake lights do not come on for any level of regen. At night, the brake lights come on at 3 chevrons over 40 mph and at 4 chevrons under 40 mph.
    KevinW, Hobbesgsr, Johnhaydev and 3 others like this.
  18. kcsunshine

    kcsunshine Active Member

    Thanks for the test. That is interesting. I wonder if it is tied into whether the headlights are on or the light sensor.
  19. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    The brake lights do illuminate at times with ACC, I notice at night if driving down hill. I haven't done any formal testing.
    dnb likes this.
  20. neal adkins

    neal adkins Active Member

    Honda should let the brake light come on when using the Regen paddle at all. I had a car come up on me quickly when using the paddle tonight. I thought it was just another aggressive driver not realizing my brake light wasn't on. Obviously not aasmart of a design.
  21. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    But manual-transmission cars don't light up their brake lights when using engine-braking, which is more powerful than the paddle-regen on the Clarity. Drivers have dealt with that for more than 100 years. Your "aggressive" driver was probably on their phone (said the 68-year old geezer who never uses his phone in the car).
    neal adkins likes this.
  22. dnb

    dnb Active Member

    Can't wait for all vehicles to have ACC :)
  23. bobcubsfan

    bobcubsfan Active Member

    Reminds of a Norm Crosby story. He rolls through a stop sign. A cop pulls him over. He says but I was going slow. The cop starts hitting him over the head with his baton and asks, "Do you want to go slow or stop?"
    Pegsie likes this.

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