You may have seen a button in your car labeled “Cruise Control” or “Cruise”.
What exactly is this function anyway?
Maintains your speed
Cruise control is a feature that helps drivers maintain a set speed.
It is helpful when you’re cruising (yes, that’s where the name comes from) on long expressway stretches.
If there’s little traffic, having to constantly modulate the accelerator pedal can become tiresome.
Cruise control solves this problem by automatically maintaining a preset speed.
This lets you take your foot off the accelerator.
How do you activate it?
In most vehicles, you press the button marked “Cruise” or “Cruise Control”. This turns the function on.
Then, you need to activate the “Set” function. In the photo above, this is done by pressing down on the toggle.
The system automatically stores the speed that the car is being driven at.
Increasing and decreasing your set speed
To accelerate, you would tap or press the + button. To reduce speed, tap or press the – button.
Some cars let you adjust your speed in 1km/h intervals. In others, the speed is adjusted in 5km/h or even 10km/h intervals.
Don’t forget to brake!
Basic cruise control functions only maintain a set speed.
You must still brake when traffic slows down, or when a car filters into your lane in front of you.
If not, you’ll get into a serious accident!
Is there a system that can brake and speed up again?
Yes. These are called Adaptive Cruise Control systems.
Once you set your desired speed, the system, using a suite of sensors and radars, automatically slows the car down when it detects slower traffic ahead.
So, if a slower car filters into your lane, the system will reduce your vehicle’s speed in order to maintain a safe distance.
Such systems let users set their preferred following distances, too.
Note that due to safety concerns, choosing the minimum setting will still see your car following other vehicles at a safe distance.
Remain in control, always
No matter how advanced these systems become, it is always better for the driver to remain in control.
You should never fully trust these functions.
Remember, a software or hardware malfunction could cause an accident if the system reads the situation wrong.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD AT ALL TIMES, even when the system is engaged.
Keep your right foot ready – you never know when you’ll need to e-brake.