Most cars today come equipped with some form of cruise control. Proponents of the technology say it is an important safety feature that increases driver comfort, reduces accidents, and saves gas. But is cruise control safe to use?
What Is Cruise Control Technology?
Cruise control is an electric system allowing a driver to set their vehicle to a specific speed, letting the driver take their foot off the gas pedal while maintaining the vehicle’s speed. Using cruise control on a long road trip is said to lessen driver fatigue and optimize fuel efficiency by eliminating unnecessary acceleration and braking. Typically, a driver can disengage a cruise control setting by manually switching the system off or pressing the brake pedal.
Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is a more advanced version of the technology. Some ACC systems use multiple sensors, lasers, cameras, flashing lights, and warning sounds. In addition to allowing the driver to set a desired travel speed, many ACC systems can maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of the vehicle, warn the driver about potential collisions, and detect objects on the road.
How Cruise Control Can Be Dangerous
Although cruise control can be an important vehicle safety feature, the use of the technology is not without risk and can even cause an accident.
1. Drivers May Be More Distracted or Disengaged When Using Cruise Control
Cruise control is not intended to and cannot replace a safe, attentive driver. But some drivers mistakenly believe that cruise control or ACC will prevent them from being in an accident. They become overconfident, drive with less care, and therefore increase the chance of an accident. Over-trusting these systems can prevent drivers from intervening even when they see a hazardous situation occurring right before them.
In addition, when using cruise control, drivers are inactive for long periods of time, which can cause them to become disengaged, drowsy, distracted, and unable to respond quickly to emergency situations.
2. Drivers May Be More Prone to Speeding When Using Cruise Control
Some drivers set their cruise control at a speed higher than the posted speed limit. Misusing technology in this way can increase the likelihood of an accident.
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that drivers who use ACC are more likely to speed and travel faster than the speed limit 95 percent of the time. These drivers increase their risk of being involved in a fatal crash by 10 percent.
3. Cruise Control Shouldn’t Be Used in All Driving or Road Conditions
Cruise control can increase the risk of a crash when used in the wrong weather, road, or conditions.
Drivers shouldn’t use cruise control in heavy or slow traffic or where it’s necessary to stop and go frequently. Therefore, the congested streets of Chicago and its surrounding areas aren’t the best places to use cruise control. Neighborhood streets, where it might be necessary to stop with little warning, also aren’t ideal for cruise control.
Using cruise control in Illinois’s snowy, icy winter weather can also be dangerous. Driving at a consistent speed on slick winter roads where there is low traction can cause the vehicle to spin out. The vehicle may also lose traction when the driver uses the brake to disengage the cruise control system.
Using cruise control in the rain also isn’t advisable because it increases the risk of hydroplaning, sliding out of control, and crashing. The wet weather can also affect the cruise control sensors, making them less reliable.
Driving up and down hills or winding country roads with cruise control can also be extremely hazardous.
4. Cruise Control Could Be Defective
A defective cruise control system can be extremely dangerous. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recently recalled 4.8 million of their most popular cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans because drivers might not be able to turn off their cruise control systems, and their vehicles could also speed up unexpectedly. This is due to a manufacturing defect.
An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you were injured by a driver who was using cruise control at the time of the accident, it’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who has a proven track record of success.
The attorneys at Cullotta Bravo Law have more than 30 years of experience representing clients with car accident personal injury claims and have obtained millions of dollars in settlements and awards. You can count on the Cullotta Bravo team to protect your rights and help you get the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Call them at 630-898-7800, or contact them online.