Cruise control is convenient for drivers traveling long distances, as it gives them time to relax and let the car take over. However, there are certain situations when it can be dangerous.
Cruise control is best used on a highway when traveling at a constant speed for a long stretch. It is not appropriate to use and can be dangerous in the following situations:
Cruise control should never be used when there is rain, snow, ice, or sleet. In these conditions, the roads become slick, and using cruise control increases the risk of hydroplaning and losing control. In these types of weather, you need to be able to constantly adjust your speed and react to the movements of the vehicles around you in an instant. Only use this feature when the roads are dry, and the weather is good.
Heavy traffic or conditions that are not steadily moving along are not ideal for cruise control. If the feature is used in stop-and-go traffic, it may cause you to rear-end another vehicle. The reason is it can delay your reaction time, and as a result, you may fail to push the brakes to stop in time.
Operating the gas pedal manually requires more focus and can help you stay alert. If you are feeling drowsy when your car is in cruise control, there is a higher risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, which could be fatal.
Hills, Mountains, or Winding Roads
On hilly, mountainous, or winding roads, cruise control cannot anticipate that you’re going to hit a curve or be going down a steep hill. As a result, your vehicle will not slow down accordingly or can pick up considerable speed, which may lead you to lose control and crash.
When using cruise control, it is still critical to pay attention to the road ahead. All drivers have a responsibility to stay vigilant and check what surrounding drivers are doing. Keeping your feet near the accelerator and brakes and your hands on the wheel is also important. Doing so will allow you to react quickly if you’re forced to slow down or speed up at a moment’s notice. Although it can be tempting to remove your hands from the wheel, even a bump in the road could cause your vehicle to veer out of your lane or off the road.
If you are involved in an accident, you may be liable regardless of whether you were using cruise control at the time. It will depend on whether your negligence contributed to the crash. For example, if you were distracted while in cruise control or failed to push the brakes in time to avoid an accident. However, in some cases, an accident can be attributed to the cruise control mechanism malfunctioning, possibly due to a manufacturing or design deft. Defective cruise control accidents can be catastrophic because they either do not allow the driver to stop or slow down or cause the vehicle to accelerate uncontrollably. In those cases, a product liability lawsuit may be possible against the manufacturer to cover the costs of the collision.
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