Cruise control is a system that lets the driver keep the car’s accelerator at a chosen speed. This means they can take their foot off the pedal. Cruise control is, in other words, a form of auto-pilot.
Ideal for use on motorways and A-roads that don’t have a lot of turns cruise control was once only found in luxury cars. However, these days, many newer cars come with it fitted.
How to Use Cruise Control
Cruise control tends to be different on every make of car. However, most cruise control systems work in a similar way.
Drive at least 30 miles per hour on a dual carriageway or motorway, then when you have reached the desired speed, turn cruise control on.
Once cruise control is on you will likely need to press the ‘Set’ button. This will tell you car to stay at the current speed. In most cars, a green indicator light will come on. You can now take your foot off the accelerator. You car should now maintain its speed.
If you wish to accelerate you can usually press the ↑ arrow or the + button. If you press the accelerator now you will override the cruise control.
If you wish to slow down you can press the ↓ arrow or the – button. Alternatively, you can apply the brakes. Please note, by pressing the brakes cruise control will be deactivated.
Please note: You should make sure you know exactly where your cruise control buttons are prior to your journey so that you’re not spending time looking for them while you drive. Each car will be slightly different so check your cars handbook or manual for instructions specific to your vehicle.
Can Cruise Control Save you Money?
Cruise control is there to make your driving experience much more comfortable. However, by limiting the amount of times you accelerate and slow down you can actually save fuel.
The Department of Transport says that you can improve your fuel economy by 25% if you retain a speed of 50 miles per hour rather than 70.
Plus, if you set your speed control to just below the speed limit you can avoid speeding fines. Cruise control can, therefore, prove to be extra helpful when there are a lot of average speed cameras around, or if you’re travelling on a smart motorway.
When you Should Not use Cruise Control
There are a few occasions when you should not use cruise control as it might not be safe. These occasions include:
- When the roads are wet or slippery. Roads can be slippery if it has been raining heavily, snowing, hailing, or there is ice on the road.
- When the traffic is heavy or you’re driving on winding roads or downhill.
- When you’re about to drive on a bridge
In other words, you should not use cruise control when you’re not able to maintain a constant speed.
What is Adaptive Cruise Control?
Some new cars have adaptive cruise control. This is quite advanced technology that lets you set a speed. The car will then read the traffic that’s ahead of you so your car is always kept at a safe distance. The car is able to do this because it will be using sensors that are located on the front of the vehicle. The sensors ensure that the speed of your car matches the speed of the vehicle in front of you. When the vehicle in front of you changes speed your car will brake or accelerate automatically.
Remember, whether you’re driving with or without cruise control on the motorway, be safe. If it’s your first time, or you’re not a regular motorway user, be extra vigilant and make sure you know the rules of road before you set off.