Going the Distance: A Deep Dive into Cruise Control

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Cruise Control is a convenient system that allows you to cruise along at a constant speed, increasing your gas mileage and safety on the road. The following article will give you all the pros and cons of cruise control and explain how it can help you save trunk loads of cash on gas and repairs.

How Cruise Control Works

Cruise control uses an actuator to control the throttle and maintain a set speed. The system in older vehicles is attached to the accelerator through a cable. The actuator moves the cable to maintain a constant speed even if the gradient of the road changes. In modern vehicles, the speed is controlled by a computer that manages the speed control electronically through a wireless system to automatically adjust the speed.

How to Use It

Cruise control works with buttons on the steering column. A switch turns the system on and off, and a “set” button is tapped to select the desired speed. If you want to reduce or increase your speed, tap on the buttons marked with a plus and minus sign.

The “cancel” button disengages the system. When you press the “resume” button, your car will cruise at the selected speed again. If you brake, cruise control will disengage. To override the set speed, press down on the gas pedal.

How Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) Works

This enhanced system automatically adjusts to what is on the road in front of you. With the assistance of radar and front-mounted sensors and cameras, the system scans the road ahead and speeds up and slows down automatically to maintain a safe following distance.

How to Use ACC

The driver sets the desired speed and space between their car and the one in front. The ACC will maintain the preset following distance. If the space decreases, the system will lower the speed until the other drivers (or you) change lanes or increase speed. Some ACC systems will bring the car to a complete stop if the traffic stops and then re-accelerate when the traffic starts to move. Others will require the driver to step on the accelerator to move forward again.

Being so relaxed behind the wheel could affect your concentration and lead to distracted driving. Keep in mind that you must stay alert and be prepared to take full control of your car at any moment to steer and brake in hazardous situations.

When to Use Cruise Control Systems

Cruise control systems are best suited for use on freeways and open roads with light traffic. The enhanced ACC systems provide safety on busy roads. These systems are not designed to be used in inclement weather conditions.

When the road surface is wet and slippery, and the speed is set too high, it could cause your vehicle to hydroplane. The system will attempt to maintain the set speed. When you intervene, your car can lose traction, potentially causing a collision. Fog, rain, and snow can play havoc with the sensors and cameras and even disable the system.

The Benefits

Cruise control is a great way to ensure that you drive stress-free on long road trips within the speed limit to avoid speeding tickets. It also dramatically reduces driver fatigue. It’s especially beneficial on freeways and in heavy traffic to maintain a safe following distance.

It definitely makes commuting more tolerable. Maintaining a constant speed without sudden braking or accelerating and driving more smoothly leads to higher fuel efficiency. This saves you money on gas and repairs.

Proper use of cruise control will allow you to enjoy miles and miles of comfortable road trips, better endure rush hour traffic, and ensure that you are safe on the road. Today, vehicles are rolling out with even more advanced driver assist systems that go far beyond the capabilities of a traditional cruise control system. When shopping for a new or used vehicle, it’s increasingly important to understand what sort of system a vehicle is equipped with. We’ll help you find your BestRide with the right features to meet your needs.

Buyer's Guide | Cruise Control | Technology | Tips and Tricks | Travel
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