@kithmo - IT's a valid question seeing as literally 99% of road users DON'T use handbrake-neutral!! But no, it's not just my opinion; This is what the highway code explicitly says, and was virtually hammered into me by my driving instructor! ;) You can and will quickly rack up minors until they become an insta-fail major fault for not doing handbrake+neutral in a manual car when stationary during a driving test!
@Ten Ninety - During the day they're fine, but it's dusk and night that is the problem - Maybe many people have fairly poor nightvision, but as someone who has quite good eyesight and nightvision, I can say brake lights *are* blinding at night, especially these new super-bright LED arrays that you get on e.g. newer Audis and Priuses!
Just a second at night is enough to leave a bunch of blobs in my vision which could easily lead to me missing one of the Dressed-In-Black suicidal pedestrians that tend to randomly run across the road in the places I drive.
Some years ago I started just closing my eyes while waiting in traffic at night because I can see the glow of the brakelights *through my eyelids*! And clearly enough to see when they go out and know it's time to move!
@Dancing Badger - I play that game too! XD Usually I am the only person doing neutral+handbrake sadly, and it's so rare to see another person do it that when I do I get disproportionately excited... >_>
It warms my heart to read so many of you don't stand on the footbrake for ages - It's so rare to see it in The Real World, and it makes me feel a bit better to know I'm not the only person who actually paid attention to the highway code! ^___^
I did find the Aygo engine a bit dieselly at low RPM; It's the only engine I've driven that got *smoother* at higher RPM! XD
White 'smoke', if it is wispy, is normal, esp. with more accelerator input, esp. in colder weather. It usually goes away once the engine warms up but if it's really cold it will continue - Just a fact of life with petrol engines I assume.
If the white smoke is quite thick... well I'm not sure what that would be - On my old car it would be a sign a ****load of diesel has somehow gotten into the exhaust and was burning into 'Airshow smoke' but I don't think that is a thing with petrol...
I'm a bit worried if you are smelling petrol *inside* the car - In some cases when a car is running rich, you can smell some petrol from the exhaust, but you shouldn't inside! Well, maybe a slight wiff when the car is starting at worst, or if you're reversing into your own exhaust right after starting the car, but certainly not a strong smell!
It might be worth checking in the engine to see if there is a slight fuel leak or something...!!
Also, I was thinking - If you don't need to drive anywhere that's going to penalize older diesels, you should try and find a Mk1 Yaris D4D and part-ex the Aygo for it - It's only a tiny bit bigger than an Aygo, but it has IMHO the best diesel engine Toyota have ever made in it and it is a BAZILLION times more fun to drive than an Aygo because it weighs nearly the same but has twice the torque, and from 1500rpm instead of 4000rpm! When you push the accelerator it just GOES, no matter what gear or speed you're doing! Overtaking *anything* with that car on the motorway was so much more pleasant than any petrol car I've ever driven.
I was regularly getting 64mpg from it, and often 70+ on longer journeys. Even when I was driving like I stole it I still got 55mpg out of it, which is more than I've been able to get from New Yaris (A 1.33VVTi petrol), even when driving it as disgusting inconsiderately economical as possible! Even the hybrids can't get close to that when driven similarly aggressively!
It doesn't have any of the emissions controls of the later ones, which makes it more powerful, more economical and more reliable than the later ones! (Not having a DPF or DMF are the biggest plus of the Mk1 D4D in that area!)
Literally the only downside of that car is its Euro 3 emissions so is probably going to get penalized by most city centres - I had to give mine up because of the London ULEZ (*sob* I miss it soo much... The Mk2 VVTi I have now is so mind bendingly gutless in comparison!)
OK, so in context:
most of the time, people leaving their brake lights on don't bother me at all, especially in daylight or at night on a well lit area of road.
occasionally, they are mildly to significantly annoying, more so at night in poorly lit areas, even worse when it's wet
on very rare occasions, when it's dark and possibly wet as well, and the vehicle in front has particularly bright brake lights, it causes such discomfort that I place the sun visor in their way and/or squint, trying to maintain some night vision for when the traffic moves and the brake lights extinguish.
Now, it is very likely the drivers of cars in category three have no idea they are causing such discomfort, and the offending vehicles often (but not always) tend to be either large, recent SUV types or ones that appear to have had modified light clusters fitted (and may well be illegal under the Construction and Use regulations).
Equally, I have no idea what, if any, effect my brake lights have on others, bearing in mind we will all have different levels of sensitivity, without necessarily being in a category that should refrain from night driving (to date, I don't recall having been behind a Gen 4 Prius at night with it's brake lights on).
Therefore, I do my best not to be showing brake lights for longer than is necessary, once at least one or two vehicles have stopped behind me, just in case they cause problems for following occupants.
As an aside, while stopped with nothing behind me, I pay a lot of attention to my mirrors and show brake lights once something approaches until I'm happy it is probably going to stop. If it's approaching at speed, I may also briefly release and reapply the brake pedal to increase the awareness of approaching traffic. I may at this stage use hazard lights too.