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Windshield wiper controls

By "Frustrated with Ford," Springfield, MO

(Taurus windshield wiper controls) I own a Ford Ranger and a Ford Taurus. I typically drive the Ranger but recently drove cross-country in the Taurus. During the cross-country trip, I got caught in a thunderstorm. I reached for the wiper control and turned it forward one notch. The wipers came on but only cycled once. By the time I got the wipers working continuously, I couldn't see out of the windshield and nearly drove off the road!

The problem is that the wiper controls on the Ranger and the Taurus do not operate in the same way. Turning the Taurus wiper control forward changes the wipers from OFF - to INTERMITTENT - to LOW - to HIGH. (See top photo.)
(Ranger windshield wiper controls) In contrast, turning the Ranger wiper control forward changes the wipers from OFF - to LOW - to HIGH. But the Ranger wiper control must be turned backward to change to the INTERMITTENT mode. (See lower photo.) Since I usually drive the Ranger, I operated the Taurus's wiper control like I would the Ranger 's. This caused me to turn the Taurus's wipers to the INTERMITTENT mode rather than LOW.

Design Suggestion

Controls that perform the same function should operate in the same way. In human factors, this is known as the principle of consistency. Consistency is particularly important when the controls are similar and a person may have to use them in a stressful situation.

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