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Yes, the brake lights come on when the cruise control decelerates the car. The owner's manual mentions this, and it's easy enough to verify by passing attention to the top brake light in your mirror at night.
Hmm, I never noticed that detail. So I guess I'm blithely driving down the freeway on cruise control while my brakelilghts go off like a Christmas tree every time the car decelerates? That seems a little excessive.
 

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Hmm, I never noticed that detail. So I guess I'm blithely driving down the freeway on cruise control while my brakelilghts go off like a Christmas tree every time the car decelerates? That seems a little excessive.
Not every time. There's some threshold in the programming. In my experience, it's similar to driving manually, where coasting will slow down without activating the brake lights.
 

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Not every time. There's some threshold in the programming. In my experience, it's similar to driving manually, where coasting will slow down without activating the brake lights.
I guess I'll have to watch for the action at night when the upper rear brake light is easier to see. Kinda curious now.
 

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Just tried it out and observed for the first time. On cruise control with the car slowing moderately, the brake lights do not come on. If a car ducks in front of you and the cruise decelerates you harder, the brake lights do come on. Assume that there is an algorithm that determines at what level of declaration to turn the brake lights on.
 

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I have had the opportunity to "test" the Pre-Collision system a number of times, and I think I can give everyone a pretty realistic way to test it, quite safely. In the end, if you add "moving" cars into the mix, that will definitely help you get into a situation that will trigger the automatic brake stomp. So, try something like this:

Look for a parking lot that has some kind of adjacent "access street" or "travel lane" that goes alongside the parking spaces. And look for spaces that are right next to that street, wherein you would be backing into the space or moving forward in the space, directly toward the street, and the traffic on that street. In other words, look for a right angle -- cars going north/south while you're moving east/west, or the other way around. Generally, the layout is going to have sidewalks, berms, or other such things separating the parking spaces from the street, but so long as the braking system can "see" the cars moving, just slowly move towards the moving traffic, either forward or in reverse, and you should be able to trigger the brake stomp in relatively short order.

The first time it happened to me, I was pulling into a parking lot at a local fast food place, and indeed driving toward the street that you drive on to get into that very parking lot. I just about had a heart attack when my RAV4 made that noise and ground to an immediate stop -- it felt like I had driven straight into a foot-tall curb in front of my car. But I got out and looked, and I was still about a foot away from a curb that was far below my bumper height -- the system had "seen" the cars moving on the street I was moving towards, and did its emergency panic stop. The second time was a similar experience when I was backing into a space, and toward the street behind me.

The worst one that happened was when I was trying to back out of a space in a big mall -- as usual, I try to avoid door dings so I get some extra distance from the other cars, and thus I had parked at the very end of a row, right off of one of the major routes through the mall parking lot. Even though I was at a considerable angle to the cars driving on that street, I utterly could not get out of that space when I tried to back out, as every time I moved, it did one of the emergency panic stops. After about half a dozen of those, I finally went into the settings and turned the system off, so I could get out of that parking space. Sheesh!

But those are some of my experiences, and I sure think that "adding moving vehicles" that you're driving towards, and having the safety of the separation you get in parking lots like that, can probably work to give you a gist of how the system works. If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing it before, you might play around with this a bit.
 
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