Cruise control systems are a marvellous invention designed to increase the convenience of drivers. These systems exist in vehicles to maintain a specific speed when activated. Usually the vehicles equipped with a cruise control system have an electronic control unit (ECU) in place.
It may be the same chip that controls fuel injection. Anyway, this chip locks either locks the accelerator in place or controls the fuel injection rate in a way that maintains speed at a constant rate.
How to use cruise control?
Cruise control is generally activated with the press of a button. This button lies on the steering wheel for most car models out there. So when you have built up a particular speed, you just press the cruise control button and it takes over the acceleration. Now even if you remove your foot from the accelerator pedal, the car will keep moving at that speed.
Cruise control can be deactivated by pressing a separate ‘deactivate’ button. Some cars also have a provision wherein you can just press the brake and the cruise control will deactivate automatically.
There may be additional buttons which can increase or decrease the speed in steps or 1, 5 or 10 kmph too. But that depends on the model and make of the car as well as its features. In any case, referring to the user manual of the car is probably the best course of action to stay informed.
Cruise Control Safety Measures
However, convenience results in slackness a lot of times. The cruise control mode is as dangerous as it is useful if not used properly. So it is essential to use cruise control safety measures as often as possible.
As a first, it is only to be used in certain road conditions. It is not wise to use cruise control in snowy or rainy conditions. The road has to be an open, one-way stretch with a clear view. Driving with cruise control on in cities is not at all advisable. The reaction times are very important to avoid crashes, and in such cases having cruise control on will introduce extra steps to control speed. If the driver is not able to deactivate cruise control in time, it can result in a crash. If the speed of the vehicle is in excess in 120 kmph, it can also prove fatal.
It is also recommended to use cruise control at manageable speeds like 40 kmph to 60 kmph. Different states have different speed limits allowed for enabling cruise control, but they are quite reasonable to prevent issues in the event of sudden manoeuvres.
There are other factors which can affect the capability of cruise control to work properly; the condition of acceleration system and brakes being the major ones. These systems should be maintained properly to avoid catastrophic failures.
Driver fatigue is also one of the reasons why these systems can fail. Being able to handle multiple controls keeps a driver alert. The more lax it gets to actually drive a car, the more the driver can be subjected to fatigue and drowsiness as a result.
Cruise control systems make it a lot easier to drive a car, but the technology has to have some limits or cruise control safety measures in place which would make it less likely to be dangerous.