What is Cruise Control?
Cruise control is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system is a servomechanism that takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver.
Cruise control is a handy feature when driving at a constant speed. It’s an electrical system that allows you to set your car to a specific speed and take your foot off the accelerator. So, it can relieve foot fatigue and stress during a long ride.
Another major benefit of using cruise control is that you will experience greater fuel efficiency. Your vehicle will use far less fuel if you drive at a constant speed rather than accelerate on each section of the open road.
When you accelerate hard, your engine uses more energy and you could use 60% more fuel than someone using cruise control. Ultimately, it’s not hard to save fuel if you let your vehicle automatically maintain a constant cruising speed.
Related: Driving Tips: 10 Best Driving Tips For New Drivers
How Does Cruise Control Works?
For long drives on the open road, it would be quite tiring to keep pressing the gas pedal. Cruise control is a feature that helps reduce driver fatigue that he would feel when driving a long distance. The system mimics the driving style of a human driver.
But instead of pressing the gas pedal, it uses an actuator to control the throttle and helps your car keep going at the same speed.
The cruise control system used in older cars is connected to the accelerator pedal by a cable to hold the accelerator pedal in a specific position to maintain the preset speed. While in newer cars the system manages speed electronically through a program without a cable.
Instead, a computer linked to various sensors and throttle controllers controls the function via a wireless system. This newer technology can automatically adjust speed to match the speed of the vehicle in front while maintaining a safe distance.
It drastically reduces driver fatigue as the driver does not have to repeatedly press and release the accelerator pedal. Drivers will find the system particularly useful on highways or roads with traffic jams during rush hour.
How to Use Cruise Control?- in 7 Step
To use Cruise Control, turn it on first by pressing the button on the end of the control stalk behind the lower right side of the steering wheel. The green cruise control icon will appear in the instrument display to show the system is ready. Then accelerate to the speed you want, and press the stalk down to set it.
To fast right let’s deep dive step by step into how to use cruise control:
- First, evaluate the driving conditions on the interstate. Cruise control is not designed to be used in hazardous weather conditions. Use good judgment when deciding to apply your vehicle’s cruise control. Check for any oncoming obstacles before applying cruise control, particularly if it is your first time using the system. Using cruise control in such weather conditions would be a bad call even if the road seems empty.
- Build your speed. If driving on an interstate, the speed limit is generally between 55 and 70 miles per hour. This speed range is ideal for cruise control. Do not attempt to set your vehicle’s cruise control at a speed that is above the legal limit. This is both dangerous and unwise.
- Once you reach your desired speed, turn the cruise control system on. In most vehicles, the buttons that control the cruise control system appear on the steering wheel. You should check your owner’s manual and locate these buttons when the car is not being driven to avoid an accident. In most cases, the system is switched on by pressing a bigger button that says cruise.
- After the cruise control system is activated, set the cruise control. This will likely entail simply pressing another button on the steering wheel. After the cruise control is set, you may remove your foot from the accelerator. The car should maintain its speed.
- When driving a vehicle that is being accelerated by a cruise control system. It is important to watch the road carefully. Your reaction time will be slower because you will have to deactivate the cruise control system before you slow down or stop.
- To accelerate while on cruise control, most models will either have additional buttons or allow the driver to briefly engage the accelerator pedal.
- To decelerate, either tap the appropriate button on the cruise control system or quickly apply the brake. As a safety precaution, almost every model of car will deactivate the cruise control as soon as the brake is applied.
When Not to Use Cruise Control?
Although modern cars have many safety features, it’s still important to know when not to use cruise control. That’s because cruise control (yes, even ACC) is only designed for one specific purpose: driving on the freeway, or any major highway, for any length of time.
When NOT to use cruise control:
- When it’s wet or slippery outside. Even if your car is equipped with features like ACC or traction control, never use cruise control in wet conditions. That’s because cruise control can cause your wheels to spin faster than they should in slippery conditions, which can cause aquaplaning or a reduced braking distance.
- When you’re drowsy. One of the most important things to remember is that cruise control is not autopilot. Cruise control does not steer your car, nor does it apply your brakes on most cars. When danger lurks on the road and your reaction time is affected by fatigue, you may not be able to avoid it fast enough.
- When you’re driving in town or in the city. As we’ve said before, cruise control is only built for one situation. The city is full of unpredictable pedestrians, cyclists and other obstacles that the freeway doesn’t have. In addition, most cars do not allow activating the cruise control below a certain speed, which means that it is impossible to use the cruise control at city speeds.
- When you’re in heavy traffic. When you’re on the highway, there’s still potential for heavy traffic, just like in the city. Once the traffic slows down, you’ll need to disable your cruise control so you can manually control your speed and brake if necessary.
- When you encounter winding roads. Finally, you should never use cruise control when driving on a winding road. That’s because you need to carefully and manually regulate your speed to navigate turns and turns, and constant acceleration can lead to a loss of control.
Now that we’ve discussed when not to use cruise control, let’s take a look at when it’s safe to use cruise control.
When Is It Safe to Use Cruise Control?
You should only use cruise control on the interstate or highways in clear and dry weather. Cruise control is designed to prevent foot fatigue during long road journeys, allowing you to focus on the road and enjoy the ride without having to control speed.
Regarding cruise control best practices, always keep your feet close to the pedals, be aware of your overall surroundings, and always maintain a safe distance from other cars on the road.
Advantages of Cruise Control
- Good Fuel Economy. When you press the gas pedal, it burns fuel. Cruise control keeps the accelerator pedal in one position so you don’t accidentally use more fuel than you need to. This helps increase your fuel economy.
- Better Driving Comfort. On a long drive, having to keep your foot on the accelerator for hours at a time can get tiring. Many drivers experience this when they drive on the freeway. Cruise control allows you to keep your foot on the ground while the vehicle moves at a constant speed. This also decreases your chances of dealing with fatigue.
- Avoid Speeding. Speeding is not always intentional. A driver can drive faster than the speed limit because they are pressing harder on the gas pedal without realizing it. A good way to avoid speeding is to set the cruise control to the advertised speed limit. Then you don’t have to worry about violating the speed limit.
Disadvantages of Cruise Control
- Bad for Tired Drivers. If you feel tired and sleepy behind the wheel, cruise control will not help. In fact, it will be easier for you to fall asleep behind the wheel because you don’t have to do much work as a driver. This will almost certainly lead to a traffic accident.
- Harder to Slow Down Quickly. If you set the cruise control and find you need to make a turn within a few seconds, you will not be able to slow the vehicle down fast enough to make the turn. It’s also harder to avoid hitting other vehicles on the road that are close to you.
- Harder to Drive in Bad Weather. Cruise control can cause your tires to lose traction on the road in snowy, wet or icy conditions. For example, if you are facing a slightly flooded area of the road, it will be difficult to slow down and avoid it with cruise control on. Your car could skid or skid if road conditions continue to be poor.
- Easier to Get Distracted. Drivers using cruise control will be more tempted to check their smartphone or other electronic device. He still has to steer, but doesn’t have to use as much brain power to accelerate the vehicle. This makes them feel more comfortable doing other things than looking at the road.