Cruise Control: Overview
Cruise control is used to automatically control the speed in your vehicle (usually over 25-35 miles per hour) without keeping your foot on the accelerator. However, cruise control can cause accidents if used improperly or in certain driving situations, such in heavy traffic or on city streets, winding roads and slippery, wet conditions.
Cruise Control: When to Avoid
When the road is wet and slippery due to heavy rain, hail, snow, ice, or other conditions, cruise control can cause an accident. For example, if your wheels begin to skid and you don’t step on the brake to stop, the continued acceleration can cause you to overdrive the road conditions, wheel traction can be reduced and you can lose control of the vehicle. Conversely, if you do step on the brake to stop or slow on slippery roads, the change in tire speed can also cause the wheels to slip, lose traction and skid out of control. And, using cruise control while driving in heavy precipitation or through large puddles can cause hydroplaning and serious accidents.
Cruise control is also a driving hazard on hills or twisting, winding roads. For example, while using cruise control, your vehicle may not accelerate properly up a hill, making you a slow-moving road hazard. A steep downhill grade can cause your vehicle to speed up faster than the cruise control setting and your car might accelerate to unsafe speeds. When driving on twisting and winding roads, cruise control could cause you to approach a turn at an unsafe speed and lose control.
Controlling the speed of your vehicle with cruise control allows you to take your foot off the accelerator and rest. But remember, you still control the vehicle’s steering and braking and need to stay alert while you drive. With and without cruise control, you can prevent accidents by keeping your brain engaged and scanning ahead for changing road conditions while driving.