Cruise control on our cars is a fantastic innovation. It’s good for fuel economy. It may save you from speeding tickets and it makes long journeys less stressful. However, in wet winter driving conditions, not being in control of your speed can cause accidents.
In conditions where hydroplaning is the hazard, you do not want your onboard computer making you go faster or slowing you down at the wrong moment. Hydroplaning is when your tires have no grip on the road surface because of a little moisture between it and them.
Hydroplaning is a frightening ‘loss of control’ experience. Your wheels spin faster but contrary to what your intuition is telling you, your car is not speeding up. It can happen in conditions of very little surface water and at speeds as low as 35 mph.
There are 3 things you can do to avoid hydroplaning and to limit the effects of it. You can’t see it coming at you, but you can anticipate it.
Good quality tires with adequate tread depth are literally life-savers.
Do not make any dramatic steering movements and take your feet off the brake and accelerator pedals.
Do not succumb to the cruise control habit on wet or wintry road conditions.
Cruise control works by adjusting your speed smoothly upwards to the set limit. Another great innovation are those forward sensors that keep you at a safe stopping distance from the vehicle ahead. Both servo-mechanisms give control to the onboard computer. And clever as it is, it cannot react properly to hydroplaning. Only you can do that.
So next time you're thinking about turning on your cruise control, think again. Ask yourself; “are the roads safe and dry?” before giving up control of your car! It may save on gas mileage, but that is no reason to take the risk.