Cruise control, when used properly, can make driving much safer. It can allow drivers to remain at or under the speed limit and increase their focus on other elements of driving. But cruise control can only make driving safer when used as intended and that is something many drivers forget. Below are some safety tips that all drivers should follow whenever they turn on cruise control.
The most important safety tip when using cruise control is to never set it higher than the posted speed limit. After all, speed limits exist for a reason. When a driver sets their cruise control to maintain a speed higher than the speed limit, they have already made their drive much more dangerous for themselves and those they are sharing the road with.
But even the posted speed limit is not always the safest speed to travel. It is crucial that drivers go with the flow of traffic, which means trying their best to maintain the same speed as everyone else on the road. While this never means speeding just to keep up with speeders, it does mean slowing down when other vehicles are traveling slowly. There could be a reason those other vehicles are traveling at a slower speed and failing to slow down could cause a driver to miss hazards or speed traps on the road.
Cruise control should also only be used on highways or long stretches of roads that do not have multiple stopping points. Not only will this decrease the gas efficiency cruise control can provide but having to stop and turn off cruise control all the time can also cause an accident. Further, when drivers are going to be stopping frequently, such as when they are in the city, cruise control is just not that practical.
Drivers also need to be sure that cruise control does not lull them into a false sense of security, as this can cause them to become complacent. Most drivers do not even notice this until it is too late and they have hit another vehicle, but it is something all drivers must be aware of. Even if they do not cause an accident, they could make driving more dangerous for everyone.
A study performed by VINCI Autoroutes and the Centre of Neurocognitive and Neurophysiological Investigations found that most drivers remained in the fast lane for longer periods of time when cruise control was turned on. This can be dangerous as the left lanes on highways are only meant for passing, and drivers are supposed to move back to the slower lane once they have passed slower-moving vehicles.
When drivers stay in the fast lane for too long, they may be passing multiple cars, meaning they are not going with the flow of traffic. And if they are in the fast lane and a vehicle going even faster approaches from behind, it could cause an accident that begins a chain reaction. Not only can the faster vehicle crash into the slower car in the fast lane, but a driver behind that car could also crash into them, and so on. This could result in a multi-vehicle crash with severe consequences for everyone involved.
Lastly, using cruise control properly also means that it should only be used in ideal conditions. Massachusetts is known for volatile New England weather and drivers often must contend with snow, rain, and ice. Using cruise control in these conditions can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, and once again, can cause an accident.
Cruise control is a very convenient feature on most modern cars and can certainly make a driver’s life easier. However, it is important that all drivers who want to take advantage of that convenience learn how to use the feature safely to avoid unnecessary dangers.