Cruise Control Driving

image of a dashboard

You probably know that your vehicle's cruise control can be used to control the speed of your vehicle without keeping your foot on the gas pedal. This feature can be a help in preventing driver fatigue, speeding, and also help by improving fuel economy under certain conditions.

However, cruise control can cause accidents if you use it under hazardous road conditions such as on city streets, in heavy traffic, on hilly or twisty roads, on slippery wet, snowy, or icy roads.

Letting the cruise control manage the speed of your vehicle allows you to take your foot off the gas pedal and this can be restful, but remember, you still must control the vehicle by steering and braking. So, it is important for you to stay alert especially while using the cruise control. Don't let fatigue lead to a false sense of security because that can lead to a lack of attention and an accident. Keep your brain engaged when you are driving; constantly scan the road ahead for changes in traffic, obstacles, and road conditions.

Be sure to read the vehicle's manual on the proper operation of the cruise control for your vehicle. Heed manufacturer’s warnings about using the cruise control. You should leave the cruise control button off unless you intend to use it because if you accidentally activate cruise control, it could startle you and cause you to lose control of the vehicle.

When you use the cruise control be sure to set it to at a legal, safe speed taking into account the roadway and current driving conditions. When using the cruise control, you should keep both feet ready for braking in case you need to suddenly slow or make an emergency stop. Don’t curl your foot up underneath you or put it up on the dashboard or anything like that. Your foot needs to be ready to apply the brake at all times.

Don’t use your cruise control when the road is wet and slippery due to snow, ice, heavy rain, hail, or other similar conditions. If your wheels begin to slip or skid while the cruise control is engaged you will need to remember that when you deactivate the cruise control, the speed of your vehicle's wheels will change. The cruise control works to keep wheel speed constant and will do so even when the vehicle is skidding or slipping. When you deactivate the cruise control, the change in wheel speed can result in even more skidding and slipping so be prepared and don't think that simply turning off the cruise control is going to make everything all right.

Don’t forget that using the cruise control on hills and twisty roads can be dangerous. You should always approach the crests of hills with caution because you can't always see what is over the top of the hill and need to be ready to slow or stop for hazardous conditions that could be there. Using cruise control on a winding or twisty road can be a problem because you could find yourself going too fast as you approach a curve in the road. Using cruise control in heavy traffic, on city streets with lights and stop signs can be tedious, frustrating, and unsafe. Many cruise controls will not work or work properly at slow speeds so it is best for you to control your vehicle in these situations and use the cruise control just for those long journeys on dry, straight, wide-open roads and highways.

And, don't forget to always wear your seatbelt.

More tips...