How and when to use cruise control.
Keep cruising: How and when to use cruise control.
A customer recently asked what cruise control actually does. No, it's not an autopilot that lets you forget about driving, but it is a useful tool for the open road.
Cruise control is a convenient feature that allows you to set the speed at which your car travels, so that you can focus on watching the road and steering and not have to continually glance down at the speedometer.
Generally, the cruise control system is activated by pushing a cruise control button. You then set the speed at which you want the car to travel by accelerating to that speed and then pressing the 'Set' button. You can then use the '+' or '-' buttons to adjust the speed until you're satisfied.
The vehicle will then maintain that speed up and down hill until you either brake, change gear or press the 'Cancel' button.
If deactivated, cruise control can be re-engaged at the Set speed by pressing the 'Resume' button.
Using cruise control in the rain
Cruise control is a wonderful tool but shouldn't be used in all conditions. If you are suffering from fatigue or if it is raining, misty or snowing, using cruise control is a bad idea as it increases the time it takes you to respond to emergencies. Radar-based cruise control can actually be safer in adverse weather conditions, but if you do use make sure you maintain sensible speeds for the weather.
Does cruise control only work on automatic cars?
It's often asked whether cruise control is limited to vehicles with automatic gearboxes, but it can also be found on manual vehicles. With automatic gearboxes, the vehicle will change gear when necessary while using cruise control. On a manual vehicle, the driver will need to change gear when necessary, as normal, and will then have to press the 'Resume' button to keep the cruise control system in operation.
Advanced cruise control systems
Some premium vehicles in the Toyota and Lexus ranges feature advanced cruise control systems that make use of radar for additional convenience and, more importantly, safety. Called Adaptive Cruise Control, it is radar-controlled and maintains a safe distance between the vehicle and the vehicle ahead. It will also safely slow the car to a standstill in congested traffic, before returning to the pre-set cruising speed once prompted by the driver and the way is clear.