Cruise control is a feature in many vehicles that allows you to set a desired speed, which your car then automatically maintains.
While cruise control can be a convenient tool for long-distance travel, it can also pose certain risks to your safety. Here are some reasons why:
1. Drivers can “check out” behind the wheel too easily
When using cruise control, drivers can become less engaged with the task of driving and less attentive to the road. This reduced attention can lead to delayed reaction times and impair your ability to respond to sudden changes in traffic conditions or hazards.
2. It can give drivers a false sense of security
Some drivers may mistakenly assume that cruise control makes their vehicle entirely “self-driving,” and eliminates the need to pay close attention to surrounding traffic. This false sense of security can cause your mind to wander and lead to distracted driving accidents.
3. It is outright unsafe during inclement weather
Cruise control should not be used during inclement weather such as rain or heavy winds. You have to be able to quickly adjust your speeds and respond to constantly changing road conditions when the weather is bad, and cruise control makes that much more difficult.
4. It’s not safe on all roads
Many roads aren’t suitable for cruise control. For example, rural roads are known for their hills and curves – and animals that sometimes get into the path of oncoming vehicles. Using cruise control is designed to keep your car moving at the same speed for long stretches of time, but you need to slow down when you’re traveling around bends, down hills and where animals might be crossing your path.
5. It can lead to drowsy driving
When drivers are not actively involved in controlling the vehicle, their level of alertness may decrease, making them more susceptible to falling asleep at the wheel. Study after study has linked cruise control systems to drowsy driving.
Does this mean that you should forgo your cruise control entirely? Not at all – but you should be very cautious with its use and only put it on when you feel it’s actually necessary. That can help mitigate the risks to you and your family of being in a wreck.
If you are involved in an accident with a driver who was “stuck on cruise” when they should have been more actively engaged with the task at hand, you may be able to claim fair compensation for your losses.