That beauty pictured above is a Buick Regal similar to the 2002 model I had back in the day. One of its features, which GM has continued on other cars to this day, is courtesy perimeter lighting. If you used the remote to open the doors, or locked the car after exiting it, the lights would stay on to help you navigate your way through darkness around the car. This included the headlights and the backup lights.
I thought this was a clever feature and though I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, this is a good example of Universality, using a feature already built-in for a novel purpose.
In the CNET on Cars episode below, Brian Cooley responds to a writer complaining that this features gives the impression that the car is about to back out, frustrating people on the prowl for a parking spot. Point taken.
Putting our Principles hat on, rather than nix the useful feature, why not use other lights on the car to distinguish between a car just sitting there lighting things up and a car about to back up?
We could apply Universality to the center brake light. It could blink when the rear lights were on just for illumination. That blinking would certainly not correspond to driver behaviour and people should quickly figure out that nobody is behind the wheel.