I don't know if the steering wheel lights can be made brighter by a user control but part of the problem is visual contrast. If you turn the dash lights down to the lowest comfortably useable level, the steering wheel lights won't seem so dim A N D you'll be able to see what is in the road ahead a lot better as you won't be masking it so much with internal glare etc. Overly bright dash lights can really destroy your night vision and create a safety hazard for you and everyone near your path.
It is gilding the lily, perhaps, but if Toyota (or a clever DIY person) blinked the steering wheel lights without raising their brightnes they would be more visible. Any competent electronics technician could make those light blink.
Of course you need to consider this mantra, "I am my own waranty station!" if you start making mods.
I adjusted the "contrast" and "brightness" settings and this helped me. Appreciate the feedback from "the screen" to much so to just turn it off. Figure there's a happy medium for each one of us ... although it sure would have been nice if Toyota had notched up the brightness of the steering wheel control lights at least a little further.
Yup, I agree that the steering wheel lights could be brighter. Can't see how that would affect your night vision in the way that cranking up the display below the windshield does.
My partner has a wonderful 2002 Jetta Wagon he runs on biodiesel (which he makes himself). One of the "points of comparison" we made between our two cars is the Jetta's wonderful interior night lighting. Red lights on blue background. Every control is illuminated, though not so bright as to distract.
The instrument panel is soft dark blue with red numbers and pointers. The radio cluster down the center of the dash, almost to the floor, is also nicely illuminated. I wonder, though, what happens when it comes time to replace all those bulbs, although they may be diodes.
My Prius, on the other hand, is really dark at night except for the TV in the dash and the speedo number below the windshield.
If anyone finds out how to increase the brightness of the steering lights, let us know.