While cruise control can be a great feature for drivers to use on highways to reduce fatigue, maintain the speed limit, and save money on fuel, it can potentially be dangerous to use in inclement weather or other unpredictable conditions.
Cruise control is an electrical-system feature that allows you to set your car at a specific speed so that you can take your foot off of the accelerator. When used properly, it can help make driving more enjoyable, but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely safe. There are times when using the cruise control system can make driving risky.
Why do people like cruise control?
Drivers enjoy cruise control because it takes the stress out of long drives and eases foot fatigue. It also helps with fuel efficiency since your car consumes less gas if you travel at a steady speed versus accelerating and decelerating at different parts of the road.
Cruise control is NOT autonomous driving. You still have to keep your eyes on the road and be fully cognizant to be able to take control in case there are any issues. Los Angeles auto accident lawyers know all too well that people who make mistakes when it comes to cruise control can cause serious and life-threatening crashes.
When is cruise control dangerous?
Following are some situations when cruise control can be dangerous:
- Bad Weather: Slippery roads caused by rain, hail, sleep, or ice can actually negatively affect the cruise control system’s ability to maintain constant speed. When the roads are wet, cruise control that’s set at too high a speed can actually cause the car to hydroplane if it comes into contact with standing water. If the car is traveling along low-traction surfaces caused by snow and ice, the cruise control system can cause the car to spin.
- Heavy Traffic: One of the most dangerous times to use cruise control is when there’s a lot of traffic. When you’re in a congested traffic area, you’ll sometimes need to slow down or stop suddenly and without warning. If your car is on cruise control, you won’t be able to react quickly to last-minute, sudden changes in traffic flow.
- Changing Road Conditions: Cruise control is best used when road conditions are constant. If you’re driving along the highway with little to no stops or traffic lights, cruise control makes total sense. If you’re traveling on roads that have rolling hills or winding curves, using cruise control could actually make it more likely for you to get into an accident. When you use cruise control as you travel up and down hills, it maintains the same speed by speeding up on the incline and breaking on the decline. If you use cruise control on winding roads, the car will accelerate as it enters into turns, potentially raising the likelihood of an accident.
- Using It When You’re Sleepy: Some people actually think that it makes sense to use cruise control when they’re feeling tired or sleepy so the car can “take over.” This is absolutely the worst time to use cruise control. You will be completely unable to respond or react to sudden changes in your environment, such as the veering between lanes that is a common sign of drunk driving.
- Using It While Distracted: Some people use cruise control when texting while driving or being otherwise distracted. You have to stay alert and focused or you won’t be able to react quickly in dangerous situations.
Cruise control is a very useful car feature that can be dangerous when used incorrectly. If you have sustained serious injuries in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, reach out to Salamati Law for a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles injury lawyer.