How You Can Use Cruise Control Safely

Cruise control is an increasingly common feature among consumer targeted cars. It’s particularly helpful in maintaining fuel economy and lowering driver fatigue during long distance drives.
But while it is designed to automate some control of your car, it isn’t designed to automate all of it.

Cruise control allows a car to maintain its current speed without the need to apply pressure on the accelerator. These allows the driver to relax his right foot, which becomes particularly useful during long drives.

This works by removing control of the accelerator from the driver. The car then locks on its current speed and maintains that speed until cruise control is turned off. As a safety precaution, cruise control is automatically switched off as soon as the brakes are activated, regardless of the speed or pressure applied to the brakes. This allows the driver to quickly gain control of the speed of the car during emergency situations.

Cruise Control Safety

Cruise control is a relatively safe feature as is, but there are a number of precautions a driver has to take to make sure it isn’t improperly used. Here are a number of safety tips to keep in mind while using cruise control.

• Keep your eyes on the road
Cruise control only maintains your speed, not your direction or your braking capacity. Because of this, it’s important to still keep your eyes on the road even while in cruise control. If you need to take your eyes off the road for any reason, simply pull over and resume driving while ready.

• Don’t take your foot off the brake
Cruise control is often used while maintaining high speeds across long drives. This can be particularly dangerous if you need to suddenly brake. Although cruise control is automatically switched off as soon as you hit the brakes, this is why it’s never recommended to take your foot off the brake for any reason. While it is safe to take your foot off the accelerator, make sure that one foot is on the brake at all times.

• Make sure you’re under the speed limit
Before switching to cruise control, make sure you’re below the authorized speed limit. Even cars on cruise control are still subject to speeding violations. Don’t be too quick to switch to cruise control. Maintain a safe, legal speed for around a minute, and once you find your car maintaining a steady, comfortable and safe speed, this is when it’s recommended to turn over control of your accelerator.

• Have your cruise control checked regularly
While it is rare for cruise control to malfunction, it’s still good to have it checked regularly with the rest of your car. It can be very dangerous for yourself and for others to assume cruise control is on, only to find out that you still have manual control of your car’s speed. This can lead to unforeseen drops in speed and acceleration, and can cause high-speed accidents.

•Use cruise control in the proper situations
Don’t switch to cruise control when in situations where you need absolute control over your car. This includes slippery or rocky roads, or heavily curved streets where you need to control your speed to make safe turns.