Cruise control automatically maintains a constant speed much like your foot does on the gas pedal. It saves gas, prevents you from getting speeding tickets, and makes long drives easier. However, it has a number of safety drawbacks. Three of these are:
It Slows Your Reaction Time
When driving without cruise control, your right foot is always at the gas pedal. If a traffic emergency happens, hitting the brakes involves a simple movement of the foot to the left from the gas pedal. This movement is automatic because it has been practiced countless times. However, your foot is kept on the floor when using cruise control. This position on the floor isn’t always the same, which means it takes a bit longer to find the brake pedal with your foot. Even this small delay can be critical in some situations. Avoid cruise control in difficult traffic situations.
Its Disengagement Requires Using the Brakes
Disengaging cruise control is done by either pressing a button with a finger or by using the brakes. However, if you habitually use the brakes to disengage it, you are at risk of getting into a crash in several situations.
For example, if your car starts skidding in slippery conditions such as ice or when hydroplaning, using the brakes to disengage cruise control is the worse thing you can do. Yet that is how your foot automatically reacts. A similar difficulty happens when going around a corner too fast. Using the brakes to disengage the cruise control makes the car less stable when cornering. This is especially true on wet pavement.
You should never use cruise control when the roads are wet or are otherwise slippery. You should also disengage cruise control before entering a turn or sharp corner.
It May Diminish Your Alertness
Because driving a car is so easy, many people drive without focusing their minds on the road. Instead, they let their reflexes do their driving for them while their minds wander. Cruise control makes driving even easier and increases this tendency to take the mind off the road. If you’re feeling tired, this lack of mental stimulation makes you more likely to fall asleep or succumb to highway hypnosis on long drives.
If you are injured in a car crash by a negligent driver, the experienced lawyers at Hogan Injury can help. Contact us today for more information.