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martin.john

Yaris Hybrid Steering Wheel Switches

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Why are the steering wheel switches not illuminated at night ?

What is the point of a hands free phone that you can not answer at night , using the steering wheel phone switches , because they are not illuminated ? The audio switches are the same .

Very poor design from Toyota in my opinion and must be a safety issue .

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Toyota are not alone in proving non-illuminated steering wheel controls - some Hondas don't have this facility either. Don't agree that not being able to answer a hands free phone whilst driving is a safety issue - conversely using any phone whilst driving is a distraction and is more of safety issue than non-lit steering wheel controls.

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If you study the switches for the phone on the Yaris steering wheel you will see that one has an indentation and the other has a raised pip

With practice it soon is possible to operate the switches in the dark.......or even with your eyes closed...(but I suggest the eyes closed use is reserved for when stationary ;) )

The audio switches are similarly shaped

There is no need for distracting illumination

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Toyota are not alone in proving non-illuminated steering wheel controls - some Hondas don't have this facility either. Don't agree that not being able to answer a hands free phone whilst driving is a safety issue - conversely using any phone whilst driving is a distraction and is more of safety issue than non-lit steering wheel controls.

On the subject of hands free phones being dangerous to talk on whilst driving, how do we stand on carrying talkative passengers, listening to traffic bulletins on the radio or parenting inquisitive children? Having any non illuminated switches is a safety issue which car manufacturers have been able to solve for 20 years or more. The only excuse I can see for no illuminated switches is penny pinching cost engineering.

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I would have to agree with Red Yaris that one switch being raised and one indented is enough. I don't see any need for an illuminated steering wheel switch, as you know the difference in the switches from feel, so don't need to look at them.

As for lack of illumination being a safety issue, it could be said that it wouldn't be safe to look away from the road to look down at the steering wheel switches to work out which one to use. They do need to be textured so people can tell the difference in the buttons without looking down.

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'On the subject of hands free phones being dangerous to talk on whilst driving'

Didn't actually say this - I described the use of any phone whilst driving as a distraction.

With our Hyundai, I suppose we have the best of both worlds - the steering wheel controls for bluetooth are both illuminated and textured. Having said that, we still pull in when safe to do so, if we get a phone call.

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Thank you Moderators for your replies, which appears to have digressed somewhat off my original question!

FROSTYBALLS: With Toyota not alone in providing non illuminated steering wheel switches, it doesn't make it right. It puts them in a group of penny pinching manufacturers that have got it wrong. I have benefitted from illuminated switches on previous cars, from more thoughtful manufacturers and have never found them a distraction, more really useful. If I spend my money on having a bluetooth phone kit in my car, I expect to be able to use it day AND night, whilst it remains legal and a responsible way of having mobile communication. Or would you have Toyota force me to illegally handle my illuminated phone whilst driving at night? The other switches on the steering wheel are equally useful, but it sounds as if you would prefer to have no switches at all.

RED YARIS 54: I recognise your point of Toyota's cheap effort at night identification of the steering wheel switches, but to me a 'raised pip' is a form of braille. This is used by the visually impaired. Toyota shouldn't be designing cars for visually impaired drivers. Following on from your statement "There is no need for distracting illumination".....to a conclusion, perhaps the whole dashboard and all controls should be in total darkness? Come on, I am a sighted driver, this is an £18,000 car and the year is 2013!

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I didn't say that illuminated steering controls are a distraction.


All in-car phone calls - whether hands free or otherwise - are a distraction to the driver, and this distraction represents a higher safety risk than having non-illuminated steering wheel controls.

Of the 17 cars we have owned from new, 10 have had steering wheel controls. I have neither implied nor given any preference for or against having steering wheel controls.

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Thank you Moderators for your replies, which appears to have digressed somewhat off my original question!

FROSTYBALLS: With Toyota not alone in providing non illuminated steering wheel switches, it doesn't make it right. It puts them in a group of penny pinching manufacturers that have got it wrong. I have benefitted from illuminated switches on previous cars, from more thoughtful manufacturers and have never found them a distraction, more really useful. If I spend my money on having a Bluetooth phone kit in my car, I expect to be able to use it day AND night, whilst it remains legal and a responsible way of having mobile communication. Or would you have Toyota force me to illegally handle my illuminated phone whilst driving at night? The other switches on the steering wheel are equally useful, but it sounds as if you would prefer to have no switches at all.

RED YARIS 54: I recognise your point of Toyota's cheap effort at night identification of the steering wheel switches, but to me a 'raised pip' is a form of braille. This is used by the visually impaired. Toyota shouldn't be designing cars for visually impaired drivers. Following on from your statement "There is no need for distracting illumination".....to a conclusion, perhaps the whole dashboard and all controls should be in total darkness? Come on, I am a sighted driver, this is an £18,000 car and the year is 2013!

What happens when the illumination fails? On a dark night you'll be left looking at dark switches with no way of telling the difference in them.

What's more 'safe' about taking your eyes off the road to look at the switches compared to going by the feel of the switches? I don't see why anyone needs to look at the steering wheel switches anyway. Its only a few buttons, so its not hard to know the difference in them.

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Pretty sure our Prius Gen II had illuminated steering switches, my BMWs did, and my Land Rover does. The Yaris however doesn't. Never found illuminated steering switches distracting.

What is more distracting though is the Touch & Go which even when it's dim on night mode is still pretty bright.

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It seems perfectly reasonable to me to want to have illuminated switches. In the past, I've found it far more distracting to NOT find the switch regardless of whether I was trying to locate it by sight or touch.

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Yes it is reasonable to want illuminated switches - but to describe non-illuminated steering wheel controls as a safety issue is stretching things a bit.

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The steering wheel switches on my Gen 2 Prius are illuminated.

I also have the raised and lowered "pips".

I do not think that with either missing would be of a safety issue, more of an inconvenience.

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I didn't take the OP's use of "safety issue" too literally.

Over the weekend, due this thread, I looked at my Prius Gen 2 steering wheel and it has sixteen switches on the front. I'd be hard pushed to find all of them by touch, and remember what they all did.

I am also doubtful that even for unlit switches that people find them totally by touch, I suspect sight is used at least to put their hand fairly close to where the owner has learnt the buttons are, and then to do the last bit of identify by touch the specific button (as long as there aren't too many to remember - either that or everyone apart from me spends way too much time in their cars).

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I have just reviewed the posts on my thread .

To the positive posters , i thank you for your comments . The support of my suggestion that none illuminated steering wheel switches are penny pinching by Toyota and an annoying design over sight are encouraging . It follows that if you cannot see the switches to operate them at night , you become distracted , which becomes a safety issue .

To the negative posters , our bluetooth police ,forum safety officer and braille switch supporters i worry about you venturing out at night in your cars . How anyone could argue that illuminating the four unlit switches on the steering wheel would distract them , when at the last count 31 other switches on my yaris illuminate when i put the lights on , is beyond me .

Illuminated switches , on the floor near the handbrake , on the door handles ,across the dashboard around the media / nav and climate controls have never been distracting just really usefull . Not forgetting the illuminated speedo , fuel gauge , eco meter clock , trips and 26 warning lights .

What would be really helpful would be if a clever techy bloke could advise whether there is a wiring fix because it wouldnt surprise me to hear that the switches do illuminate but are not wired up because Toyota saved on six inches of wire .

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I have just reviewed the posts on my thread .

To the positive posters , i thank you for your comments . The support of my suggestion that none illuminated steering wheel switches are penny pinching by Toyota and an annoying design over sight are encouraging . It follows that if you cannot see the switches to operate them at night , you become distracted , which becomes a safety issue .

To the negative posters , our bluetooth police ,forum safety officer and braille switch supporters i worry about you venturing out at night in your cars . How anyone could argue that illuminating the four unlit switches on the steering wheel would distract them , when at the last count 31 other switches on my yaris illuminate when i put the lights on , is beyond me .

Illuminated switches , on the floor near the handbrake , on the door handles ,across the dashboard around the media / nav and climate controls have never been distracting just really usefull . Not forgetting the illuminated speedo , fuel gauge , eco meter clock , trips and 26 warning lights .

What would be really helpful would be if a clever techy bloke could advise whether there is a wiring fix because it wouldnt surprise me to hear that the switches do illuminate but are not wired up because Toyota saved on six inches of wire .

I have reviewed this topic and it offers balanced discussion on the subject

Martin, you seem unable to comprehend that many Yaris owners do not feel the need to unnecessarily illuminate the steering wheel switches as the pips and indentations are easy to recognise from touch alone after a very short period of ownership

Technically, I understand and accept that the switches on the steering wheel do not contain a means of illumination. I knew that prior to purchase of the car.

I would suggest that any Yaris driver should acquaint themselves with the layout of all controls prior to driving their cars

The Yaris layout is quite intuitive and simple to memorise

Whilst I appreciate that you may not agree with my observations, I feel that you should not worry yourself about any of us that favour unilluminated steering wheel switches venturing out at night, as we have acquainted ourselves with our cars, prior to doing so! :)

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In the words of someone no longer with us............calm down dear!

The electric window switches do not illuminate on many a model either..........and a good thing too in my book, there is enough illumination going on in the cabin without the need for spurious lighting

I don't think it is a bean counter decision to leave the wiring out either, I don't think there are any bulbs / LED to light them

Kingo :thumbsup:

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