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One of the most hotly debated topics about winter driving is warming up a car. Most automotive experts believe that it’s bad to let your car idle for too long. However, for drivers that live in climates with very cold winters, it’s understandable to let your car idle for at least a few minutes to warm it up and defrost ice from the windshield. A female driver in upstate New York took the latter approach to the extreme, though. While warming up her car, she angered her neighbors when the headlights shined in the windows of their apartment. 

Woman asks AITA Reddit forum about warming her car up in the morning

Car warms up with headlights on a snowy path in the forest
Car with headlights shining | Holly Mandarich via Unsplash

An unnamed woman recently posted on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” Reddit forum, as detailed by Mirror. The title of her post is, “AITA for letting my car run for 10 mins in the morning?

The Reddit user details how she uses the auto-start feature on her 2018 Subaru Crosstrek to remotely warm it up in the parking lot of her apartment complex on cold winter mornings before she drives to work:

“I’ve (25F) lived in this same apartment complex for 10 years. The apartment owners decided to add on to the parking lot maybe 7 years ago, adding one row of parking between another building and mine. I’ve been parking on this new part because I can see my car from my living room sliding glass door (no balconies). Plus it is within my car auto start range.”

The woman then describes how the headlights point into her neighbor’s windows when warming up her car:

“I have a pretty strict morning routine, and at 6:20 during weekdays I auto-start my car in the winter to warm it up. I always leave at 6:30, unless there is a lot of snow to clear. But during those 10 minutes, my lights are on and point at either the apartments across from me or into the living rooms on my complex.”

Neighbors complain about car headlights shining in their windows

Close-up view of car headlights shining in snowy weather
Close-up view of car headlights shining | Danny Sleeuwenhoek via Unsplash

The new neighbors of the woman were not very pleased with the headlights shining in the windows of their apartment. The Reddit user detailed how when she returned home from work, her neighbors “opened their sliding glass door” and told her not to shine her “lights into their apartment.”

The woman then said, “I’m always gone in 10 minutes. Is it really that big of a deal?” In response, her neighbor said that “he fell asleep in his living room and [the woman] woke him up that morning.”

AITA Reddit forum reaction to woman shining headlights at neighbors when warming up her car

The woman asked the AITA Reddit forum for advice. She stated, “AITA? It’s only for 10 minutes, and it’s not like I’m shining them directly into his bedroom (which I would have in the apartments across from us if I didn’t back in). I’ve never had this problem with anyone after living here so long.”

Most of the responses on AITA Reddit have a negative take on the woman’s actions. Please note: These Reddit comments are opinions and don’t necessarily mean that the woman was at fault:

  • “It’s only 10 minutes of light” … It’s only 1 second for you to turn your lights off, and 1 second in the morning to turn them back on.”
  • I’m such a light sleeper that this would wake me up and keep me awake, regardless of how tired I am.”
  • “YTA just turn the lights off at night. Do you really want to be that annoying neighbor?”
  • “They complained. You can solve it. I’m sure you can afford [it].”

However, some Reddit users were more sympathetic:

  • “Yeah, but they fell asleep on the couch and forgot to close their blinds. I do not see how it’s OPs fault.”
  • “They could also take the 1 second to shut the blinds. Not saying they are in the wrong, but that’s the purpose of having them. Plus privacy.”

What do you think about the headlights shining into a neighbor’s windows when warming up a car? Warming up a car during the winter is already a contentious issue. Disturbing the neighbors adds fuel to the fire.


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