And, parking lights are not good enough. They're tiny. And, why wouldn't you just go one click further and turn on the full headlights (not to mention the taillights)? Let me think of a probable reason. Is the driver trying to save wear & tear on the car's battery? Does the driver usually only use the parking light setting even in full darkness, because he can see in the dark?
Nowadays, most newer cars have running lights, which are on automatically whenever the car is on. There is a sensor which tells the mechanism when it is really dark outside, so that instead of running lights, the car will turn on real headlights. Obviously, for most cars, this sensor needs real darkness to signal to the mechanism to switch to headlights. This is not good enough. Firstly, having just running lights on does not replace full headlights Secondly, having running lights on does not automatically mean that taillights are on. Is the driver just lazy and letting the automatic running lights do all the work, instead of taking two moments to turn on and then, turn off the real lights? Is this another ha! ha! I can see you, but you can't see me! moment?
Just a whine to automakers, what's this about auto running lights, anyway? They are supposed to increase road safety? For whom? And why only in the front? Don't we want to prevent vehicles from ramming us (or, see below, crashing when avoiding a crash) from behind?
I guess I am only talking about the familiar (and the majority), which are passenger cars, but trucks, too, are a problem -- a bigger problem, pun intended. A few years ago, I totalled the car I was driving on the tollway, because I suddenly saw the semi-tractor's trailer before me and braked while swerving to the left (we were both in the right lane and I didn't feel like falling past the narrow shoulder into a snowy ditch). I ended up sliding across the left lane, doing a 180 and taking out the median barrier with the whole front bumper and passenger-side wheel well of my car while the truck roared merrily on its way, oblivious. Larry said I was driving too fast for road conditions and not using the anti-lock brakes properly. Be that as it may, I was more bothered by the fact that I did not see the truck's taillights (or whatever they're called). Later, under the same, or possibly worse, visual conditions on the same road, I noticed that I could see trucks' taillights, so it must have been that particular truck's problem. Today, in the rain, there was a waste disposal truck behind me on I-88 with no headlights on (which also means no taillights on). Again, it's a ha! ha! I can see you, but [who cares if] you can't see me!
Of course, my lights were on. I make sure by manually bypassing the auto on/off to keep the headlights on even as the day gets brighter, a feature of this car which the salesman had touted as a good way to turn off unwanted headlights while driving in the Christmas-lights-laden neighborhoods). And, if they aren't, I want to know!! I certainly hope I'll notice your blink, blink, blinking of your brights and respond accordingly, because maybe sometimes, I haven't the foggiest idea I'm not having a ha! ha! I can see you, but you can't see me! moment, too.