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'dome ?' light that won't turn off

I have a 1997 Mercury Marquis and the rear seat upper light came on this morning when I turned on the light above my head and will not turn off now. I tried messing with the automatic head light switch, turning off car and waiting for lights to shut down and drove to work with it on but nothing will turn it off. All the doors are firmly closed so that’s not it. Any solution?

This is the overhead “map light”? How did you turn it on? Slide or rotary switch at the light?

Well, it could be a broken switch. That’s uncommon, but on 12-13 year old cars stuff does just get tired and break. On some cars, there are multiple switches for the map light – one on each side. Is it possible that you are trying to turn it off with the wrong switch?

It could also be a broken/stuck door switch. On many cars – and especially older ones, there are little black rubber covered switches that the doors push open when the door is closed. Having one break after a decade isn’t that uncommon, but they usually fail open – which is to say that the light won’t come on when the door is opened rather than staying on when the door is closed. There probably is a light on the dash – typically red and fairly unobtrusive – that comes on if a door switch is active. If it’s on, one of your door switches has failed.

You’re probably going to have to get someone to look at it. Any half way competent mechanic can probably figure out what is wrong. Fixing it – once a replacement part has been procured shouldn’t be hard and may not be too expensive.

If the light bothers you and you don’t really care if it works, some pushing and prying will probably get the cover off and you can remove the bulb.

I went back out to the car and poked and poked around on the light and it finally went off. No idea why it came on in the first place as I was not in the back seat before now.

On many cars, the switch in these lights completes the circuit to the chassis or ground. Since you poked around the light and it went off, you broke the circuit. I would remove the bulb from the light if this happened to be my car.

You’re getting generic advice. Here is some specific advice. Read your owner’s manual. It will tell you that the rear lights each have a switch built into the fixture. The way it works is if you rotate the light itself, it turns it on. To turn it off, you rotate the light so that it is pointing straight down.
You should also be aware that there is a battery saver feature so that even if you leave the light on, it will turn off after twenty minutes or so (as long as the key is off).

Not this one.

It was probably not fully in the off position, and then rotated to the on position when you hit a bump.

The door switch would turn all lights on, not just one. Why get a mechanic to tell the OP that his light has rotated to the on position?