Cruise control is one of the great automotive innovations of the last 20 years. However, while it can make long-term trips more comfortable for drivers, it can also cruise you right into autmobile trouble if you do not use it properly.
Safety, Comfort and Fuzz-Friendly
Cruise control is really most effective for long stretches of relatively flat highway. By making it possible for drivers to move their right leg around, instead of glued to the gas pedal, the device cuts driver fatigue, a leading cause of highway accidents.
Even for drivers not inclined to exceed the speed limits, “speed creep” is a natural occurrence on freeways – the tendency for all of us to go faster unknowingly the longer we’re on the freeway, and unwittingly vulnerable to speeding tickets. Setting the cruise control at or just below the speed limit prevents speed creep and keeps you in a safer speed zone.
When it’s a No-No
There are times and places when you should avoid using the cruise. These include:
• Hilly roadways. Cruise control will push your engine to maintain steady speed uphill, but will over-accelerate your car as you reach the top of a hill. Better to keep your foot on the gas to avoid accelrating too fast and possibly causing an auto collision.
• Slippery surfaces. Cruise control actually increases your probability of an accident on wet, icy or snowy surfaces. Never use it in these conditions.
• City streets. You increase the need to brake sharply when you use your cruise where there are a lot of traffic lights ahead of you.
• Congested traffic. Where are you going to go with cruise in bumper-to-bumper traffic? With the cruise, you will most likely end up on the next person’s automobile bumper.
• When you are tired. Even if you are just a little tired, cruise control will cut down on your reaction time to potential highway dangers.