After spending countless hours on the highway over the years, I’m convinced that Cruise Control does more harm than good. Cruise Control, sometimes known as “autocruise”, is a system that automatically controls the speed of a vehicle by taking control of the throttle to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver. Years ago, Cruise Control became a standard feature on almost all cars and trucks with the intention of improving driver comfort in steady traffic conditions. Unfortunately, such conditions rarely exist.
There are many times when driving with cruise control can actually be the cause of an accident. For example, during times of rainy or icy conditions vehicles using Cruise Control often hydroplane. When this happens, the wheels lose contact with the pavement and the car can actually speed up as Cruise Control tries to maintain speed. This can cause the driver to lose control.
I’ve learned to recognize other drivers that are using Cruise Control. They always seem to maintain a steady speed just over the posted speed limit, presumably to avoid a speeding ticket, which more often than not blocks the passing lane.
Drivers using Cruise Control depress their brake pedal to disengage the feature and then a second switch or button on or near the steering column to re-engage and return to the desired speed. Every time the brake pedal is pressed, the vehicles brake lights flash causing the vehicle directly behind to use their brakes as well causing an accordion-like reaction that disrupts the flow of traffic.
Cars and trucks come with warnings and disclaimers for any number of different reasons yet Cruise Control is rarely, if ever, mentioned. In theory, the feature should make for more comfortable driving and better fuel efficiency but the disadvantages appear to be outweighing the advantages that it provides.
Certainly, Cruise Control can be used effectively at many times on the highway … specifically, during dry conditions and light traffic such as found during the late night and early morning hours. But, more often than not, it has been my experience that Cruise Control is a highway nuisance. In today’s driving conditions, I don’t find the feature to be the least bit practical.
Do you use Cruise Control?
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