awkward designs #2 :: top dashboard vents of my 98 Sable

so I’m reviving the post series on designs I officially kicked off here. To get right to it, here’s a photo of the vent on the top of my dashboard:


What’s the big design flaw with this vent, you might wonder? I mean after all, it seems harmless enough – its outflow is aimed at the driver side window, allowing for some defrosting of that window in winter…

Well, I found out, when I was driving and for some reason, right hand on the wheel, had my left hand on top of the dash. I’m not remembering exactly why I slid my left hand across the dash, but I did as I perhaps was making a turn, probably lost in thought and …YOWWWWCH! I withdrew my hand reflexively, yanking my left index finger out of this vent. What the, I thought. 5 min later, when I’d parked the car, I looked more closely at what had caused my sudden surprising pain.

Basically the vent opening is about finger-size, and has nasty, jagged edges on either side – so if a hand slides near it (which is bound to occasionally happen, since the vent is about 6 12 inches from the steering wheel!), you can jam it in this sharp little vent! I think in the photo you can even see how sharp the edges around the opening are.
I just don’t understand why someone didn’t think to make the edges smooth, and the outlet of the vent less likely to trap / jam fingers in it.  In other words….were humans considered when designing this thing???



  1. […] – as I’m still driving an older Mercury Sable that gets 20-30 mpg (and has some fun design perks, plus some slowly developing creaks that are so loud that a friend I was talking to in the car one […]


  2. Premium post, amazing looking weblog, added it to my favs!


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