cruise or speed control

Advertisement

How Cruise Control Systems Work

  • Share Content on Facebook
  • Share Content on LinkedIn
  • Share Content on Flipboard
  • Share Content on Reddit
  • Share Content via Email

cruise control

Cruise control is an invaluable feature on Ameri­can ­cars. Without cruise control, long road trips would be more tiring, for the driver at least, and those of us suffering from lead-foot syndrome would probably get a lot more speeding tickets.

­Cruise control is far more common on American cars than European cars, because the roads in America are generally bigger and straighter, and destinations are farther apart. With traffic continually increasing, basic cruise control is becoming less useful, but instead of becoming obsolete, cruise control systems are adapting to this new reality -- soon, cars will be equipped with adaptive cruise control, which will allow your ­car to follow the car in front of it while continually adjusting speed to maintain a safe distance.

In this article, we'll learn how a conventional cruise control system works, and then we'll take a look at adaptive cruise control systems that are under development.

What Cruise Control Does

Cruise control acceleration and deceleration, controlling the cruise control, adaptive cruise control.

cruise or speed control

The cruise control system actually has a lot of functions other than controlling the speed of your car. For instance, the cruise control pictured below can accelerate or decelerate the car by 1 mph with the tap of a button. Hit the button five times to go 5 mph faster. There are also several important safety features -- the cruise control will disengage as soon as you hit the brake pedal, and it won't engage at speeds less than 25 mph (40 kph).

The system pictured below has five buttons: On, Off, Set/Accel, Resume and Coast. It also has a sixth control -- the brake pedal, and if your car has a manual transmission the clutch pedal is also hooked up to the cruise control.

  • The on and off buttons don't actually do much. Hitting the on button does not do anything except tell the car that you might be hitting another button soon. The off button turns the cruise control off even if it is engaged. Some cruise controls don't have these buttons; instead, they turn off when the driver hits the brakes, and turn on when the driver hits the set button.
  • The set/accel button tells the car to maintain the speed you are currently driving. If you hit the set button at 45 mph, the car will maintain your speed at 45 mph. Holding down the set/accel button will make the car accelerate; and on this car, tapping it once will make the car go 1 mph faster.
  • If you recently disengaged the cruise control by hitting the brake pedal, hitting the resume button will command the car to accelerate back to the most recent speed setting.
  • Holding down the coast button will cause the car to decelerate, just as if you took your foot completely off the gas. On this car, tapping the coast button once will cause the car to slow down by 1 mph.
  • The brake pedal and clutch pedal each have a switch that disengages the cruise control as soon as the pedal is pressed, so you can shut off the cruise control with a light tap on the brake or clutch.

cruise or speed control

The cruise control system controls the speed of your car the same way you do -- by adjusting the throttle position . But cruise control actuates the throttle valve by a cable connected to an actuator , instead of by pressing a pedal. The throttle valve controls the power and speed of the engine by limiting how much air the engine takes in (see How Fuel Injection Systems Work for more details).

In the picture above, you can see two cables connected to a pivot that moves the throttle valve. One cable comes from the accelerator pedal, and one from the actuator. When the cruise control is engaged, the actuator moves the cable connected to the pivot, which adjusts the throttle; but it also pulls on the cable that is connected to the gas pedal -- this is why your pedal moves up and down when the cruise control is engaged.

cruise or speed control

Many cars use actuators powered by engine vacuum to open and close the throttle. These systems use a small, electronically-controlled valve to regulate the vacuum in a diaphragm. This works in a similar way to the brake booster , which provides power to your brake system.

cruise or speed control

The brain of a cruise control system is a small computer that is normally found under the hood or behind the dashboard. It connects to the throttle control seen in the previous section, as well as several sensors. The diagram below shows the inputs and outputs of a typical cruise control system.

A good cruise control system accelerates aggressively to the desired speed without overshooting, and then maintains that speed with little deviation no matter how much weight is in the car, or how steep the hill you drive up. Controlling the speed of a car is a classic application of control system theory . The cruise control system controls the speed of the car by adjusting the throttle position, so it needs sensors to tell it the speed and throttle position. It also needs to monitor the controls so it can tell what the desired speed is and when to disengage.

The most important input is the speed signal; the cruise control system does a lot with this signal. First, let's start with one of the most basic control systems you could have -- a proportional control .

In a proportional control system, the cruise control adjusts the throttle proportional to the error, the error being the difference between the desired speed and the actual speed. So, if the cruise control is set at 60 mph and the car is going 50 mph, the throttle position will be open quite far. When the car is going 55 mph, the throttle position opening will be only half of what it was before. The result is that the closer the car gets to the desired speed, the slower it accelerates. Also, if you were on a steep enough hill, the car might not accelerate at all.

Most cruise control systems use a control scheme called proportional-integral-derivative control (a.k.a. PID control). Don't worry, you don't need to know any calculus to make it through this explanation -- just remember that:

  • The integral of speed is distance.
  • The derivative of speed is acceleration.

A PID control system uses these three factors -- proportional, integral and derivative, calculating each individually and adding them to get the throttle position.

We've already discussed the proportional factor. The integral factor is based on the time integral of the vehicle speed error . Translation: the difference between the distance your car actually traveled and the distance it would have traveled if it were going at the desired speed, calculated over a set period of time. This factor helps the car deal with hills, and also helps it settle into the correct speed and stay there. Let's say your car starts to go up a hill and slows down. The proportional control increases the throttle a little, but you may still slow down. After a little while, the integral control will start to increase the throttle, opening it more and more, because the longer the car maintains a speed slower than the desired speed, the larger the distance error gets.

Now let's add in the final factor, the derivative . Remember that the derivative of speed is acceleration. This factor helps the cruise control respond quickly to changes, such as hills. If the car starts to slow down, the cruise control can see this acceleration (slowing down and speeding up are both acceleration) before the speed can actually change much, and respond by increasing the throttle position.

Two companies are developing a more advanced cruise control that can automatically adjust a car's speed to maintain a safe following distance. This new technology, called adaptive cruise control , uses forward-looking radar , installed behind the grill of a vehicle, to detect the speed and distance of the vehicle ahead of it.

Adaptive cruise control is similar to conventional cruise control in that it maintains the vehicle's pre-set speed. However, unlike conventional cruise control, this new system can automatically adjust speed in order to maintain a proper distance between vehicles in the same lane. This is achieved through a radar headway sensor , digital signal processor and longitudinal controller . If the lead vehicle slows down, or if another object is detected, the system sends a signal to the engine or braking system to decelerate. Then, when the road is clear, the system will re-accelerate the vehicle back to the set speed.

The 77-GHz Autocruise radar system made by TRW has a forward-looking range of up to 492 feet (150 meters), and operates at vehicle speeds ranging from 18.6 miles per hour (30 kph) to 111 mph (180 kph). Delphi's 76-GHz system can also detect objects as far away as 492 feet, and operates at speeds as low as 20 mph (32 kph).

Adaptive cruise control is just a preview of the technology being developed by both companies. These systems are being enhanced to include collision warning capabilities that will warn drivers through visual and/or audio signals that a collision is imminent and that braking or evasive steering is needed.

For more information on cruise control, check out the links below.

Cruise Control FAQ

How does cruise control work, how does adaptive cruise control work, will adaptive cruise control stop the vehicle, when would you use cruise control, how useful is cruise control, lots more information, related articles.

  • How Car Engines Work
  • How Brakes Work
  • How Manual Transmissions Work
  • How Fuel Injection Systems Work
  • How Radar Detectors Work
  • Ignition System Quiz

More Great Links

  • BMW: Cruise-control-equipped motorcycle
  • Cruise Control Block Diagram
  • Cruise Control Installers' Instructions
  • Cruise Control Service Tips

Please copy/paste the following text to properly cite this HowStuffWorks.com article:

What is Cruise Control

Cruise Control Explained – All You Need to Know

Zutobi

Cruise control has come a long way since first invented and patented by Ralph Teetor in 1950, who originally named it the “Speedostat”. Chrysler Corporation was the first manufacturer to offer the groundbreaking mechanism as an option on several of its luxury vehicle models nine years later. Today, cruise control is rapidly becoming the standard on all new vehicles, providing drivers with increased convenience on their daily drive.

As you’re learning how to operate a vehicle , understanding cruise control will help increase your comfort behind the wheel and knowledge of driving.

What is Cruise Control?

Cruise control is an electronic device within your vehicle that controls the speed of your vehicle. It allows the driver to maintain a constant speed of 25 mph without holding their foot on the accelerator. Although the feature has been around for 70 years, automotive manufacturers continue to improve upon the technology to provide drivers with increased comfort, luxury, and convenience whenever they’re behind the wheel.

cars driving on a freeway with little traffic

Different Types of Cruise Control

There are 3 types of cruise control systems.

  • Speed Limiter
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Semi-autonomous Cruise Control

What is a Speed Limiter?

A speed limiter will limit how fast the driver can accelerate behind the wheel. All modern vehicles contain a standard speed limiter capping speed between 120 mph and 180 mph depending to protect the vehicle’s engine and discourage reckless driving. However, an additional limiter can be added as an option in many European-made cars, as well as Tesla, Ford, and Nissan. Drivers are still required to keep their foot on the pedal to keep their vehicle in motion, but will not be able to accelerate past a predefined speed limit.

What is Adaptive Cruise Control?

Adaptive cruise c ontrol uses sensors around the vehicle’s exterior to maintain speed while keeping a safe following distance from the car ahead. The system will slow you down and speed you up as the flow of traffic fluctuates throughout your commute, removing a lot of the stress from daily driving. However, adaptive cruise control may not work well in bad weather or protect you from sudden movements, so you will want to always keep your full attention on the road.

What is Semi-autonomous Cruise Control?

Luxury automakers such as Tesla and Audi are implementing the newest rendition of cruise control on their latest vehicle models – Semi-autonomous Cruise Control. It works largely the same as adaptive cruise control, but assists drivers with lane guidance and steering. There are several variations of semi-autonomous cruise control that include additional convenience features for the driver.

How to Use Cruise Control – 6 Step Guide

These are the steps to using cruise control effectively.

  • Observe weather conditions
  • Build speed
  • Engage cruise control
  • Set cruise control
  • Watch the road and steer
  • Brake to disengage

1 – Observe weather conditions

As mentioned, cruise control may become inconsistent in rainy, snowy, or otherwise hazardous conditions. If you must drive in this situation, it may be a better idea to do so manually. Cruise control works best on a clear day with constant traffic flow.

cruise or speed control

2 – Build speed

Accelerate to your desired speed as you prepare to activate cruise control. US highways have posted speed limits between 55 mph and 75 mph. Do not attempt to set cruise control when you are traveling over the speed limit.

3 – Engage cruise control

Once you’ve reached your desired speed, engage the cruise control. This step will vary widely based on your vehicle make and model, however, many cruise control settings are accessible from the steering wheel controls. Check your owner’s manual for further information.

4 – Set cruise control

After turning on cruise control, you’ll need to set your desired speed. Many systems set the cruise control at the current speed, while others require you to manually set one. You can increase and decrease this speed as needed without interrupting the mechanism.

5 – Watch the road and steer

Watching the road is essential when cruise control is engaged. Cruise control is not a substitute for a human driver and will require supervision at every step. If you are using a semi-autonomous system, you will not need to steer but will need to keep at least one hand on the wheel for safety measures.

cruise or speed control

6 – Brake to disengage

When cruise control is no longer needed, or you need to quickly make a maneuver, simply apply pressure to the brakes to disengage the system. Once deactivated, you will be in full control of your vehicle once again.

When NOT to Use Cruise Control

While cruise control is a convenient feature for modern drivers, it is not perfect for all circumstances. In fact, utilizing the system can be quite dangerous if you’re not careful. Be sure not to use cruise control under these conditions.

Heavy Traffic

Heavy, or stop-and-go traffic is not ideal for safely using cruise control. When engaging cruise control on the highway, ensure your lane is clear and there are no vehicles stopping ahead.

highway with heavy traffic

Wet or Icy Conditions

You need to be driving slowly while on wet and icy roads. While cruise control keeps a constant, predetermined speed, it takes away a lot of the manual control needed to stay safe when it’s raining or snowing.

City Driving

While driving through the city, you’ll face a number of stop lights and stop signs that will require manual braking. This action will automatically disengage cruise control.

Winding Roads

Winding roads require more attention than straight, flat streets. Cruise control systems, even adaptable cruise control, may not always detect these streets correctly, causing accidents.

winding road in the mountains

Fatigued Driving

Driving while fatigued is never a good idea, but even less so while using cruise control. Utilizing the system may add to your fatigue, as you give your vehicle more control of the journey. If you’re even the least bit tired, you should never turn on cruise control.

As you can see, cruise control is a great way to relieve much of the stress that comes with everyday driving. The constant rate of speed can also drastically improve fuel efficiency for longer drivers. Cruise control has had a positive impact on the driving industry for 70 years and shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon.

student

550+ exam-like questions

All you need to ace your test

Perfect for first-timers, renewals and senior citizens

Recommended articles

cruise or speed control

Cost Effective Cars

The cheapest and most expensive cars to run in the us there are so many different costs to factor in when you buy a new car. from the price of gas, to insurance and vehicle tax rates in your area. in a landscape where consumer prices fluctuate, particularly in areas like vehicle parts, used car […].

Zutobi

Driving Career Index

A driver’s license opens up numerous job opportunities. but which jobs offer the biggest growth potential with minimal training in this report, zutobi drivers ed analyzed average salary, job availability, employment change rates, and education requirements to identify the top career options for individuals with driver’s licenses. top jobs with the biggest growth opportunities first […].

Most popular cars on TikTok

Top Cars Trending on TikTok

Which cars take tiktok by storm certain cars are hailed as masterpieces of design and engineering, true artistic marvels. when individuals come across a stunning, high-end, or exceptionally remarkable car, they can’t resist the urge to capture it and share it on tiktok. as a result, tiktok is teeming with countless posts showcasing various cars, […].

Ace your DMV test, guaranteed

Get started

Best of the Zutobi blog

  • Learner’s Permit Ultimate Guide
  • Driving Test Ultimate Guide
  • Traffic Lights Guide
  • How to Pass the DMV Permit Test
  • How to Pass the Driving Test
  • Common Reasons For Failing the Road Test
  • International Driver’s Permit Guide
  • Driver’s License Renewal
  • How to Get Your US Driver’s License
  • How to Prepare for Your Road Test
  • How to Get a Driver’s Permit
  • Behind-The-Wheel training
  • Terms & conditions
  • Privacy policy
  • Do Not Sell My Personal Information
  • Subscription terms
  • Terms & policies

Practice Tests

  • Car Practice Tests
  • CDL Practice Tests
  • Motorcycle Practice Tests
  • Free Practice Tests

Get Started

  • Introduction

Start Driving

  • Knowledge test prep

Driving basics

  • Traffic signs

Drive Better

  • Safety tips

Emergency procedures & tips

  • Advanced maneuvers
  • Tech & navigation
  • Cruise control
  • Eco-friendly driving

Routine maintenance

  • DIY repairs

How-To's

Driving tips and tricks

On The Road

Travel guides

How to Use Cruise Control: Specific Things You Need to Know Well

Discover expert insights and practical tips on using cruise control effectively. This comprehensive guide covers everything from basic operations to advanced features, safety tips, and troubleshooting.

Cruise control is a valuable feature in many modern vehicles, enhancing convenience and efficiency, especially during long drives. This guide delves into the intricacies of using cruise control, offering expert insights, technical details, safety tips, and more.

Photo of a car dashboard with the cruise control stalk

​ Understanding Cruise Control

​ what is cruise control.

Cruise control is an electronic system that allows a vehicle to maintain a steady speed set by the driver . Cruise control is designed to be used on roadways without frequent stops. It’s ideal for use on highways and long stretches of road with minimal stops or turns.

​ Types of Cruise Control

  • Standard cruise control maintains a set speed until manually overridden.
  • Advanced systems, like adaptive cruise control , automatically adjust speed based on traffic conditions.

​ Operating Cruise Control

Adjusting speed.

Before activating cruise control, ensure conditions are safe. It’s not advisable to use cruise control in hazardous weather or heavy traffic.

Cruise control activation

​ Safety Tips

Remain vigilant and ready to deactivate cruise control instantly in case of an emergency or changing traffic conditions.

Speed Limits

Always adhere to speed limits. Cruise control should not be used to maintain speeds above legal limits.

​ Advanced Features

Adaptive Cruise Control

This modern feature uses sensors and radar to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, adjusting speed automatically.

​ Troubleshooting Common Issues

System Not Activating

If your cruise control doesn’t activate, start with the basics. Ensure it’s turned on and you’re at the right speed (usually above 25-30 mph). If these aren’t the issues, it might be a blown fuse, a faulty brake pedal switch, or a defective speed sensor. Check your vehicle’s manual for fuse information and consider a professional inspection of the brake pedal switch and speed sensor.

Failing to Maintain Set Speed

Trouble maintaining the set speed often points to sensor issues. Speed sensors inform the cruise control system. If these sensors are dirty or malfunctioning, the system might not maintain the speed. Cleaning sensors and checking for obstructions can help. Also, consider checking wheel alignment and tire condition, as these can affect performance.

Erratic Speed Changes

If your vehicle experiences erratic speed changes with cruise control engaged, this could indicate a problem with the throttle control system or the vehicle’s computer system. These complex issues generally require professional diagnostics and repair.

Adaptive Cruise Control Problems

With adaptive cruise control, problems can arise from blocked sensors or system malfunctions. Ensure that the sensors, often located in the front grille or under the mirrors, are clean and unobstructed. For system malfunctions, professional diagnostics are essential, as these systems involve advanced electronics and software.

​ Comparative Analysis of Modern Cruise Control Systems

In the realm of modern vehicles, cruise control systems have evolved significantly, offering a range of functionalities tailored to enhance driving experience and safety. Here’s a comparative analysis of several popular systems.

Tesla Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta

Tesla’s FSD Beta represents a leap forward in autonomous driving technology. It’s not just a cruise control system but an advanced driver-assistance system capable of navigating complex driving scenarios. Key features include automatic lane changes, stop sign and traffic light recognition, and the ability to navigate city streets. While it offers substantial automation, it still requires driver supervision and isn’t fully autonomous.

GM's Super Cruise

General Motors’ Super Cruise system is available in select Cadillac models and provides hands-free driving assistance on compatible highways. It uses LiDAR map data, high-precision GPS, and a driver attention system to ensure safety. Unlike Tesla’s FSD, it’s limited to highway use but excels in hands-free driving comfort and safety.

Ford Co-Pilot360

Ford’s Co-Pilot360 includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane-centering. It’s less about hands-free driving and more about reducing driver fatigue and enhancing safety. This system is excellent for everyday driving, offering features like speed sign recognition and evasive steering assist.

Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT

Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT system pushes towards Level 3 autonomy, allowing drivers to hand over control under certain conditions, like heavy traffic or on highways. It uses a sophisticated array of sensors and cameras, offering a smooth and intuitive driving experience. It’s more advanced than traditional systems but still requires driver attention.

BMW's Driving Assistant Professional

BMW offers the Driving Assistant Professional system, which includes features like adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-keeping assistant, and traffic jam assistant. It’s designed for convenience and safety, providing a balanced mix of automation and driver control.

Each system has its strengths and caters to different driving needs and preferences. Tesla’s FSD Beta is at the forefront of autonomy but requires active supervision. GM’s Super Cruise excels in hands-free highway driving, while Ford’s Co-Pilot360 focuses on safety and driver assistance for everyday use. Mercedes-Benz and BMW offer systems that blend convenience, safety, and a step towards higher autonomy, maintaining a balance between automated and manual driving.

This comparison highlights the diversity in cruise control technologies, illustrating how each brand tailors its system to specific driving experiences and safety standards.

​ Real-World Impact

Cruise control technology not only adds convenience to driving but also significantly impacts safety and efficiency. This section delves into the real-world implications of using cruise control, supported by safety statistics and research findings.

The integration of cruise control in vehicles has been a game-changer in terms of driving safety and efficiency. Here are some key impacts:

Reduced Driver Fatigue : Continuous concentration over long drives can lead to driver fatigue, a leading cause of road accidents. Cruise control allows drivers to maintain a constant speed without constant pedal adjustment, reducing the physical and mental strain during long journeys.

Improved Fuel Efficiency : By maintaining a steady speed, cruise control helps in reducing fuel consumption. Studies have shown that erratic speed variations can lead to higher fuel consumption, whereas maintaining a consistent speed optimizes fuel efficiency.

Safety Statistics : Research indicates that the use of cruise control can lead to a reduction in speed-related accidents. However, it’s crucial to note that over-reliance on cruise control in inappropriate conditions (like city driving or in heavy traffic) can negate these safety benefits.

Impact on Traffic Flow : When used widely, cruise control can contribute to smoother traffic flow on highways. Consistent speeds help in reducing the frequency of braking and acceleration among vehicles, leading to less congestion and smoother traffic movement.

It’s important to balance the use of cruise control with active driving engagement, ensuring that safety is always the top priority.

For a deeper understanding of cruise control and its various aspects, it’s always beneficial to refer to your vehicle’s manual and seek guidance from automotive professionals.

Was this page helpful?

  • Understanding Cruise Control
  • What is Cruise Control?
  • Types of Cruise Control
  • Operating Cruise Control
  • Safety Tips
  • Advanced Features
  • Troubleshooting Common Issues
  • Comparative Analysis of Modern Cruise Control Systems
  • Real-World Impact
  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game New
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Cars & Other Vehicles
  • Driving Vehicles
  • Efficient Driving

How to Use Cruise Control on a Car

Last Updated: March 16, 2021 Approved

This article was co-authored by Simon Miyerov . Simon Miyerov is the President and Driving Instructor for Drive Rite Academy, a driving academy based out of New York City. Simon has over 8 years of driving instruction experience. His mission is to ensure the safety of everyday drivers and continue to make New York a safer and efficient driving environment. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 471,238 times.

Many cars come with cruise control systems, a great feature that will automatically keep a car driving at a set speed. This gives your feet a rest, and helps you save gas and avoid speeding tickets. Familiarize yourself with your car's cruise control switches, located on or near the steering wheel. Make sure to use cruise control only in safe conditions, and to stay focused on the road. Once you know how to operate cruise control, you're ready for a comfortable, efficient drive!

Get Car Support Chat with wikiHow AI

wH

We’re sorry we don’t support the car you are looking for. Please enter its make, model, and year below so that we can add support for it.

Operating Cruise Control

Step 1 Locate your car's cruise control switches.

  • Check your car's operating manual if you are unable to find the cruise control switches.

Step 2 Study the layout of the switches.

  • Many cars have additional buttons to increase or decrease speed (marked by a +/-) when using cruise control.

Step 3 Drive your car until you reach your desired speed and hit “SET.”

  • For some car models, cruise control will not operate below a certain speed, such as 40 miles (64 km) per hour.

Step 4 Stop cruise control whenever you need to.

  • To stop cruise control briefly (such as when a car in front of you brakes), just press the brake as you normally would.
  • If you are driving a manual, you can also disengage cruise control by pressing the clutch.
  • If you are completely done using cruise control, you can press the “OFF” or "ON/OFF" switch.
  • If your car has a cruise control “CANCEL” switch, you can also press that to stop it.

Step 5 Resume cruise control, if you want.

  • If your car has a +/- button for cruise control, press this when you want to raise or lower your car's speed.

Using Cruise Control Safely and Efficiently

Step 1 Reserve cruise control for the open road.

  • Using cruise control on busy streets can also be dangerous. Since you yourself are not in complete control of your car, you may be paying less attention. You might brake or react to other cars more slowly than normal, increasing the chance of an accident.

Step 2 Avoid using cruise control in hazardous conditions.

  • Wet or snowy roads
  • Hilly, steep, or mountainous areas
  • Winding roads

Step 3 Stay focused on the road.

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

You Might Also Like

Calculate Fuel Consumption

Expert Q&A

Simon Miyerov

  • ↑ Simon Miyerov. Driving Instructor. Expert Interview. 4 December 2019.
  • ↑ http://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/cruise-control/

About This Article

Simon Miyerov

If you want to use cruise control on your car, make sure you're on the open road, such as a freeway or highway. Additionally, avoid using cruise control in rainy or snowy conditions, or if you're driving through a city, since you'll need to change speed and turn regularly. When you're ready to switch to cruise control, press the "Set" switch, which is usually found on the steering column or on the wheel, when your car reaches the desired speed. To stop cruise control, press on the brake or push the clutch if you're driving a manual car. To learn when to avoid using cruise control and how it can help you save on fuel, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

Joseph Adizero

Joseph Adizero

Dec 17, 2020

Did this article help you?

cruise or speed control

Suraj Sinha

Jun 17, 2016

Ashish Vohra

Ashish Vohra

Oct 17, 2017

Elvis Fon

Jul 26, 2017

Alejandro Martinez

Alejandro Martinez

Jul 25, 2016

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

How to Use Floss on Your Teeth

Trending Articles

What Flower Am I Quiz

Watch Articles

How to Get Air Moving in a Closed or Stuffy Room

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

wikiHow Tech Help Pro:

Develop the tech skills you need for work and life

Cruise Control In Cars Explained (And How To Safely Use It)

cruise or speed control

Have you ever wished you could set your car's speed and just sit back and relax while driving on a long stretch of highway? If that's the case, then cruise control is just the ticket you've been searching for—and the good news is, it's a standard feature in most cars these days!

Cruise control is a handy feature for drivers that allows you to maintain a constant speed without having to keep your foot on the gas pedal. In this post, we'll explore how cruise control works, its benefits, and how to use it safely to make your driving experience more comfortable.

Understanding Cruise Control

Cruise control, also known as speed control, is an electronic system that allows you to maintain a specific speed without manually controlling the accelerator pedal. The system uses sensors and electronic components to control the throttle and keep your car moving at a desired speed. First introduced in the late 1950s, cruise control has since become a standard feature in most modern vehicles you see on the road today.

How Does It Work?

At its core, cruise control involves a series of sensors that monitor the vehicle's speed and a control unit that regulates the throttle. When the driver sets the cruise control to a specific speed, the system adjusts the throttle to maintain that speed. If the car begins to slow down because of an incline (e.g. going up a hill), the system will open the throttle to accelerate. Conversely, if the car starts to speed up due to a declin (e.g. going downhill), the system will close the throttle to decelerate.

Modern cruise control systems also come with additional features like adaptive cruise control (ACC), which uses radar or cameras to detect vehicles ahead and automatically adjusts the speed to maintain a safe following distance (more on this BELOW).

The History of Cruise Control

The invention of cruise control can be traced back to the late 1940s and early 1950s, when engineer Ralph Teetor developed the first-speed control system. This innovative feature was designed to help drivers maintain a steady speed, reduce fatigue while driving, and improve fuel efficiency. Over the years, cruise control technology has undergone significant advancements, leading to the development of sophisticated systems like adaptive cruise control.

Types of Cruise Control Systems

Today, drivers can choose from a range of cruise control systems, each with its own unique features and functionalities.

Conventional Cruise Control

Conventional cruise control is like your old reliable friend. It's pretty basic and doesn't have any fancy bells and whistles. You just set the speed you want, and it'll keep your car cruising along at that speed, no problem. It's perfect for those long drives on open highways, but it doesn’t automatically react to other cars on the road.

So, if the car in front of you slows down, you'll need to step in and adjust your speed manually. This trusty system comes standard on most cars and is great for saving some fuel on those long road trips .

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

Now, if conventional cruise control is your old reliable friend, then Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is like that friend's tech-savvy younger cousin. ACC isn't just maintaining your set speed, it's also keeping an eye on the car in front of you. If that car slows down, ACC slows your car down to keep a safe distance .

It's like having an extra set of eyes on the road, making highway driving a breeze. Plus, some ACC systems can even handle stop-and-go traffic, bringing your car to a full stop and then picking up speed again when traffic gets moving.

Predictive Cruise Control

Predictive Cruise Control is like the fortune teller of cruise control systems. It uses GPS and map data to see into the future and predict what's coming up on the road, like hills or curves, and adjusts your speed accordingly. This means you get a smoother ride and better fuel efficiency, but it all depends on the quality of the GPS and map data. If that's a bit out of date, your fortune-telling cruise control might not be so accurate. It's usually found in more high-end vehicles where top-notch fuel efficiency is a focus for the engineers.

Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC)

And then we have Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, or CACC. This is like the team player of cruise control systems. It allows cars to talk to each other, coordinating their speeds to maintain a safe distance. It's like having a well-coordinated team of cars all working together to make the traffic flow smoother and reduce congestion. Picture it like a synchronized dance on the highway, where every car knows its place and keeps the right distance. This tech is still pretty new, but it's got a lot of potential. Imagine a future where traffic jams could be a thing of the past.

Remember, these systems are here to make your drive smoother and safer, but they're not a replacement for your attention. No matter how fancy your cruise control is, these systems can be greatly influenced by external conditions like weather and traffic, and they should always be used as aids, not replacements, for attentive driving.

Common Cruise Control Symbols and Indicators

Understanding the various symbols and indicators associated with cruise control is important for safe and effective usage. These symbols typically appear on the dashboard (or on the side of the steering wheel) and may include a speedometer icon, "SET," "RES" (resume), and "CANCEL". Be sure to consult your vehicle's owner's manual for specific details and explanations of these symbols.

Benefits of Using Cruise Control

Cruise control offers several benefits to drivers, especially during long road trips or highway driving.

Fuel Efficiency

One of the main advantages of using cruise control is improved fuel efficiency. By maintaining a constant speed, cruise control helps reduce fuel consumption, leading to better gas mileage. Rapid acceleration and deceleration, on the other hand, can lead to increased fuel consumption.

Comfort and Convenience

Cruise control allows drivers to take their foot off the accelerator pedal, reducing fatigue and improving comfort during long drives. It also helps drivers avoid unintentionally exceeding the speed limit by setting a maximum speed.

When used correctly, cruise control can contribute to safer driving. By maintaining a steady speed, it reduces the likelihood of erratic driving behavior and potential accidents. However, it is important to note that cruise control shouldn't be used in certain conditions, such as heavy traffic or slippery roads .

Troubleshooting Common Cruise Control Issues

Occasionally, you may encounter issues with your cruise control systems. Common problems include cruise control not engaging or disengaging unexpectedly. Possible causes may include a faulty brake light switch, malfunctioning sensors, or issues with the control module. If you experience any problems with your cruise control, it's best to have a qualified technician diagnose and repair the issue for you.

Cruise Control and Road Etiquette

Practicing proper road etiquette while using cruise control is essential for a safe and pleasant driving experience. Here are some tips on how to use cruise control courteously:

  • Avoid using cruise control in heavy or congested traffic, as it may hinder your ability to react quickly to changing conditions.
  • Be mindful of other drivers when setting your speed. Avoid setting a speed that's significantly slower or faster than the flow of traffic.
  • If you are in the passing lane and using cruise control, be sure to adjust your speed or temporarily disengage the system to allow faster-moving vehicles to pass.
  • Always signal your intentions, such as lane changes or exiting the highway, even when using cruise control.

The Future of Cruise Control Technology

Cruise control technology plays a vital role in the development of autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars . In autonomous vehicles, cruise control systems work together with other advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to enable the vehicle to operate without direct driver input. These systems include lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and collision avoidance systems.

As autonomous vehicles become more sophisticated, cruise control technology is evolving to support higher levels of automation. For example, some autonomous vehicles are equipped with advanced cruise control systems that can navigate complex traffic scenarios, merge onto highways, and even change lanes autonomously.

While fully autonomous vehicles are still in the developmental stages, the integration of cruise control technology is a big step toward creating safer and more efficient transportation systems.

As automotive tech continues to advance, cruise control systems are becoming more intelligent and capable. Here are some potential developments we can expect to see in the future of cruise control technology:

  • Integration of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve decision-making and responsiveness in adaptive cruise control systems.
  • Enhanced connectivity and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, enabling cars to share information about traffic conditions and coordinate their speeds for smoother traffic flow.
  • Greater customization and personalization options, allowing drivers to set preferences for cruise control behavior, such as following distance and speed adjustments.

Overall, the future of cruise control technology holds promise for creating a more seamless and enjoyable driving experience, with a focus on safety, comfort, and sustainability.

Debunking Myths About Cruise Control

Let's address and debunk some common misconceptions about cruise control:

Myth : Cruise control can be used as a substitute for driver attention.

Fact : Cruise control is a driver assistance feature, not a replacement for attentive driving. Drivers should always remain alert and ready to take control when necessary.

Myth : Cruise control increases the risk of accidents.

Fact : When used appropriately, cruise control can contribute to safer driving by maintaining a steady speed and reducing erratic driving behavior.

Cruise control is a valuable feature that can enhance your driving experience by providing comfort, convenience, and fuel efficiency. Remember to use it safely and appropriately based on driving conditions, and always stay attentive while on the road.

If you found this post informative and want to learn more about car features, driving tips, and automotive technology, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates. We're here to help you stay informed and enhance your driving experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cruise Control

To further enhance your understanding of cruise control, here are answers to some common questions:

Q : Can cruise control be used in all weather conditions?

A : It isn't advisable to use cruise control in adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or icy roads, as it may reduce your ability to respond quickly to changing road conditions.

Q : Can I use cruise control in urban areas with frequent stop-and-go traffic?

A : Cruise control is best suited for open roads and highways with consistent traffic flow. It isn't recommended for use in urban areas with frequent stops or heavy traffic.

Q : Does cruise control work at any speed?

A : Cruise control typically has a minimum speed threshold, below which it can't be engaged. This threshold varies by vehicle, so check your owner's manual for specific information.

About the Author: This article was crafted by the LOOP Marketing Team. Comprising of seasoned professionals with expertise in the insurance industry, our team is dedicated to providing readers with accurate, up-to-date, and valuable information. At LOOP, we're passionate about helping families navigate the world of car insurance, ensuring they get the best coverage at the most affordable rates. Learn more about our mission and values here.

For more insights on auto insurance and other related topics, visit our blog .

Quick Navigation

Check out how much you could save today.

Browse related articles

cruise or speed control

A Simple Guide On How To Plan A Road Trip In 2023

cruise or speed control

How To Keep Your Dog Safe In Your Car

cruise or speed control

Can You Modify A Leased Car?

Life has many roads. your weekly navigator is just a click away..

Cruise Control – Pros & Cons

Cruise Control Pros & Cons

Cruise control is a smart feature in modern cars that lets you set a specific speed your car will maintain without you having to keep your foot on the gas pedal. It’s sort of like setting a pace for a marathon, so you don’t have to think about it constantly.

Here is a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of cruise control:

  • Pros: Increased fuel efficiency, reduced driver fatigue, consistent speed maintenance, fewer speeding violations.
  • Cons: Potential inattentiveness, inefficiency in city driving, risks in adverse weather, compatibility issues with older vehicles.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into these advantages and disadvantages and explore the next-generation Adaptive Cruise Control.

A Quick Look at Cruise Control

A Quick Look at Cruise Control

The cruise control system relies on a speedometer and a servo mechanism to work. When you set a speed, the system maintains it by controlling the throttle. If your car goes slower than the set speed, like going up a hill, the system increases throttle to speed up. When going downhill, it reduces throttle to slow down, keeping your car at the same speed you set.

The first rudimentary versions of cruise control appeared in the late 19th century, but the modern version was invented in the 1940s by Ralph Teetor , a blind mechanical engineer. His goal was to stop the jerky speed adjustments made by his chauffeur, which led to the invention of “Speedostat”, later known as cruise control.

Cruise control quickly became popular, especially for highway driving, and was a standard feature in many cars by the 1990s. Over time, technological advancements led to the development of more sophisticated systems. One of these is Adaptive Cruise Control , a more advanced type of cruise control that can automatically adjust the car’s speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead.

The Advantages of Cruise Control

Cruise control comes with several advantages that make driving not just easier but also safer and more efficient. Let’s look into these benefits in detail.

1. Increased fuel economy

Fuel efficiency is one of the significant benefits of using cruise control. When you manually control your car’s speed, it’s natural to have variations, leading to more fuel consumption. The cruise control maintains a steady speed, reducing fuel usage , especially on long highway drives. This is good for both your wallet and the environment!

2. Reduced driver fatigue

Long hours on the road can make drivers tired and less focused. Cruise control helps by taking over speed management, letting drivers relax their feet and concentrate more on steering and observing the road. This reduces fatigue , helping you stay alert and safer on your journey.

3. Consistent speed maintenance

Humans naturally struggle to maintain a constant speed while driving, especially over long distances. Cruise control, being a computerized system, can keep your car at a steady pace. This consistency makes your driving smoother and even contributes to smoother traffic flow when multiple vehicles use cruise control.

Cruise control is particularly beneficial on highways. Highways are typically long, straight roads with less traffic and few stops. These conditions are perfect for cruise control. By maintaining a constant speed, it aids in overall traffic management and reduces the risk of speeding.

4. Fewer speeding violations

A great benefit of cruise control is that it helps prevent speeding tickets. Since you set a maximum speed for your car , cruise control ensures you don’t accidentally go over the limit. It’s an excellent tool for keeping yourself within the law while also reducing the risk of speed-related accidents.

The Disadvantages of Cruise Control

While cruise control has many advantages, it’s not perfect. There are some disadvantages to consider, especially when it comes to city driving, weather conditions, and the age of your vehicle.

1. Potential inattentiveness

While cruise control can help with driver fatigue, there’s also a risk of becoming too relaxed . Some drivers may pay less attention to the road, thinking that cruise control is doing all the work. Remember, cruise control only manages speed. You still need to steer, brake, and stay alert.

2. Inefficiency in city driving

Cruise control is ideal for highways, but it’s less effective in the city. City driving often involves frequent stops, sudden speed changes, and navigating around other vehicles or pedestrians. Cruise control can’t handle these complexities, so manual control is better in these situations.

3. Risks in adverse weather

Cruise control is not recommended in bad weather conditions , like rain, snow, or icy roads. These situations require delicate control over your vehicle, something cruise control can’t provide. Using it in such conditions can increase the risk of losing control or hydroplaning.

4. Compatibility issues with older vehicles

While most new cars come with cruise control, older models might not have this feature. Even if you can install it, it might not work as efficiently as in newer cars. Also, the installation can be expensive, and there’s a risk of damaging the vehicle if not done correctly.

Practical Tips for Cruise Control

Practical Tips for Cruise Control

Cruise control is a handy tool, but it requires proper use to reap its benefits. Here are some practical tips to ensure you’re using cruise control effectively and safely:

  • Know when to use it : Cruise control is best for long, straight roads with consistent traffic, like highways. Avoid using it in heavy traffic, poor weather conditions, or on curvy or hilly roads.
  • Stay alert : Cruise control is not an autopilot. You still need to stay focused on the road, ready to brake, steer, or take over speed control if necessary.
  • Set a reasonable speed : Don’t set your cruise control at a speed that’s too fast for the conditions. Always adhere to speed limits and adjust your speed to the traffic, road, and weather conditions.
  • Use it to save fuel : By maintaining a consistent speed, cruise control can help improve your car’s fuel efficiency, particularly on long drives.
  • Understand its limitations : Cruise control cannot recognize stop signs, traffic lights, or other road hazards. That’s your job. Always be prepared to disengage cruise control quickly if needed.

Adaptive Cruise Control: The Next Generation

Adaptive Cruise Control is a newer, more advanced version of traditional cruise control. Just like its predecessor, Adaptive Cruise Control can maintain a set speed. But it also does something more—it can automatically adjust the speed of your car to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of this innovative technology.

The evolution of traditional cruise control

Unlike regular cruise control, Adaptive Cruise Control uses advanced sensors and sometimes cameras to watch the road ahead. If the car in front slows down, this system slows your car, too, maintaining the safe gap. When the road clears again, Adaptive Cruise Control speeds up back to your set speed. This means you can turn this feature on even in moderate traffic, a huge step up from traditional cruise control.

Advantages of Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive Cruise Control brings a new level of safety and convenience to driving. It can help prevent collisions by maintaining a safe following distance, reducing the stress of driving in heavy traffic. It also allows you to relax more without worrying about adjusting your speed frequently. But remember, even with Adaptive Cruise Control, you need to stay alert and ready to react if needed.

Disadvantages of Adaptive Cruise

Despite its benefits, Adaptive Cruise Control also has some drawbacks. For one, it’s usually more expensive both to purchase a new car and to repair if something goes wrong. Some drivers may find the cost not worth the added benefits.

Additionally, while Adaptive Cruise Control technology is pretty smart, it’s not perfect. It might not react to stopped vehicles or non-moving objects like a manual driver would. It can also be thrown off by bad weather or dirty sensors.

1. Do cruise control save gas?

Yes, cruise control can save gas. By maintaining a consistent speed, it helps your car use fuel more efficiently, especially during long drives on the highway. This efficiency decreases when roads are hilly or you’re stopping and starting a lot, like in city driving.

2. Should you use cruise control in the rain?

No, using cruise control in the rain is not advised. Wet conditions make roads slippery, requiring you to adjust your speed often and sometimes quite suddenly. Cruise control isn’t able to make these quick, necessary adjustments. Using it could increase the risk of losing control of your car or hydroplaning.

3. Is adaptive cruise control worth it?

The worth of Adaptive Cruise Control depends on your driving conditions and personal preferences. If you often drive on highways or in moderate traffic, ACC can be a big help. It adjusts your car’s speed to keep a safe distance from the car in front, reducing stress and enhancing safety. However, getting ACC for your car often costs more, so consider your budget too.

4. Is adaptive cruise control safe?

Yes, Adaptive Cruise Control can improve safety by maintaining a safe distance from the car in front of you. However, it doesn’t eliminate the need for you to be alert and ready to take control at any moment. It’s a support tool, not a substitute for active, responsible driving. Like any tech, it might have occasional glitches, so always keep your eyes on the road.

5. When to use cruise control?

Cruise control is best used on long, straight stretches of road, like highways, where you don’t need to stop frequently. It’s great for maintaining a constant speed, which can prevent speeding tickets and improve fuel efficiency. However, avoid using cruise control in heavy traffic, bad weather, or on curvy or hilly roads. Always stay fully alert, even when using cruise control.

Related Articles

Car Loses Power While Driving

  • Cast & crew
  • User reviews

Speed 2: Cruise Control

Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric in Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

A computer hacker breaks into the computer system of the Seabourn Legend cruise liner and sets it speeding on a collision course into a gigantic oil tanker. A computer hacker breaks into the computer system of the Seabourn Legend cruise liner and sets it speeding on a collision course into a gigantic oil tanker. A computer hacker breaks into the computer system of the Seabourn Legend cruise liner and sets it speeding on a collision course into a gigantic oil tanker.

  • Jan de Bont
  • Graham Yost
  • Randall McCormick
  • Sandra Bullock
  • Jason Patric
  • Willem Dafoe
  • 331 User reviews
  • 55 Critic reviews
  • 24 Metascore
  • 1 win & 9 nominations

Speed 2: Cruise Control

  • Officer Alex Shaw

Willem Dafoe

  • John Geiger

Temuera Morrison

  • (as Michael G. Hagerty)

Colleen Camp

  • Sheri Silver

Jeremy Hotz

  • (as Enrique Murciano Jr.)

Jessica Diz

  • Fran Fisher

Patrika Darbo

  • Ruby Fisher

Kimmy Robertson

  • Liza (Cruise Director)
  • All cast & crew
  • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

More like this

Speed

Did you know

  • Trivia Gary Oldman turned down the role of the villain, and instead chose to make Air Force One (1997) .
  • Goofs In several scenes, many passengers are stuck behind "fire screen doors" and unable to get out. These doors open like any normal doors with the recessed handle built right into them. You can see this handle when the chainsaw is used. Even if the passengers were somehow stuck behind water-tight doors, those can always be opened via a manual crank.

Annie Porter : Jack, he was never the romantic type. For our anniversary he gives me pepper spray. PEPPER SPRAY. I think it's perfume. I end up in the emergency room.

  • Crazy credits No oceans were polluted during the filming of this movie.
  • The final scene of the theatrical version of the film where Annie is repeating her drivers test is shown at the very beginning.
  • An additional scene was added showing Annie and Alex driving to the port and riding a dinghy to the ship where Annie first meets Geiger.
  • The name of the cruise ship was changed to "S.S. Legend".
  • An additional scene was added showing crew of the Eindhoven Lion extinguishing the oil tanker after the bow thruster scene.
  • An extended boat crash scene was added with more dialogue between the crew on the ship.
  • An extended scene was added showing Alex walking through a crashed house and through St. Martin after jumping off the ship.
  • Connections Edited into The Making of 'Speed 2: Cruise Control' (1997)
  • Soundtracks Tell Me Is It True Written, Performed and Produced by UB40 Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc. / Virgin Records Ltd.

User reviews 331

  • Jun 6, 2004
  • How long is Speed 2: Cruise Control? Powered by Alexa
  • Why did Annie break up with Jack Traven?
  • Will There be a Speed 3 movie sequel ?
  • June 13, 1997 (United States)
  • United States
  • American Sign Language
  • St. Martin, Guadeloupe, Départements d'Outre-Mer, France
  • Blue Tulip Productions
  • Twentieth Century Fox
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro
  • $160,000,000 (estimated)
  • $48,608,066
  • $16,158,942
  • Jun 15, 1997
  • $164,508,066

Technical specs

  • Runtime 2 hours 1 minute
  • Dolby Digital

Related news

Contribute to this page.

Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric in Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

  • See more gaps
  • Learn more about contributing

More to explore

Production art

Recently viewed

What is Cruise Control? | How to Use Cruise Control

What is cruise control.

Cruise control is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system is a servomechanism that takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver.

Cruise control is a handy feature when driving at a constant speed. It’s an electrical system that allows you to set your car to a specific speed and take your foot off the accelerator. So, it can relieve foot fatigue and stress during a long ride.

Another major benefit of using cruise control is that you will experience greater fuel efficiency. Your vehicle will use far less fuel if you drive at a constant speed rather than accelerate on each section of the open road.

When you accelerate hard, your engine uses more energy and you could use 60% more fuel than someone using cruise control. Ultimately, it’s not hard to save fuel if you let your vehicle automatically maintain a constant cruising speed.

Related: Driving Tips: 10 Best Driving Tips For New Drivers

How Does Cruise Control Works?

For long drives on the open road, it would be quite tiring to keep pressing the gas pedal. Cruise control is a feature that helps reduce driver fatigue that he would feel when driving a long distance. The system mimics the driving style of a human driver.

But instead of pressing the gas pedal, it uses an actuator to control the throttle and helps your car keep going at the same speed.

The cruise control system used in older cars is connected to the accelerator pedal by a cable to hold the accelerator pedal in a specific position to maintain the preset speed. While in newer cars the system manages speed electronically through a program without a cable.

Instead, a computer linked to various sensors and throttle controllers controls the function via a wireless system. This newer technology can automatically adjust speed to match the speed of the vehicle in front while maintaining a safe distance.

It drastically reduces driver fatigue as the driver does not have to repeatedly press and release the accelerator pedal. Drivers will find the system particularly useful on highways or roads with traffic jams during rush hour.

How to Use Cruise Control

How to Use Cruise Control?- in 7 Step

To use Cruise Control, turn it on first by pressing the button on the end of the control stalk behind the lower right side of the steering wheel. The green cruise control icon will appear in the instrument display to show the system is ready. Then accelerate to the speed you want, and press the stalk down to set it.

To fast right let’s deep dive step by step into how to use cruise control:

  • First, evaluate the driving conditions on the interstate. Cruise control is not designed to be used in hazardous weather conditions. Use good judgment when deciding to apply your vehicle’s cruise control. Check for any oncoming obstacles before applying cruise control, particularly if it is your first time using the system. Using cruise control in such weather conditions would be a bad call even if the road seems empty.
  • Build your speed. If driving on an interstate, the speed limit is generally between 55 and 70 miles per hour. This speed range is ideal for cruise control. Do not attempt to set your vehicle’s cruise control at a speed that is above the legal limit. This is both dangerous and unwise.
  • Once you reach your desired speed, turn the cruise control system on. In most vehicles, the buttons that control the cruise control system appear on the steering wheel. You should check your owner’s manual and locate these buttons when the car is not being driven to avoid an accident. In most cases, the system is switched on by pressing a bigger button that says cruise.
  • After the cruise control system is activated, set the cruise control. This will likely entail simply pressing another button on the steering wheel. After the cruise control is set, you may remove your foot from the accelerator. The car should maintain its speed.
  • When driving a vehicle that is being accelerated by a cruise control system. It is important to watch the road carefully. Your reaction time will be slower because you will have to deactivate the cruise control system before you slow down or stop.
  • To accelerate while on cruise control, most models will either have additional buttons or allow the driver to briefly engage the accelerator pedal.
  • To decelerate, either tap the appropriate button on the cruise control system or quickly apply the brake. As a safety precaution, almost every model of car will deactivate the cruise control as soon as the brake is applied.

When Not to Use Cruise Control?

Although modern cars have many safety features, it’s still important to know when not to use cruise control. That’s because cruise control (yes, even ACC) is only designed for one specific purpose: driving on the freeway, or any major highway, for any length of time.

When NOT to use cruise control:

  • When it’s wet or slippery outside. Even if your car is equipped with features like ACC or traction control, never use cruise control in wet conditions. That’s because cruise control can cause your wheels to spin faster than they should in slippery conditions, which can cause aquaplaning or a reduced braking distance.
  • When you’re drowsy. One of the most important things to remember is that cruise control is not autopilot. Cruise control does not steer your car, nor does it apply your brakes on most cars. When danger lurks on the road and your reaction time is affected by fatigue, you may not be able to avoid it fast enough.
  • When you’re driving in town or in the city. As we’ve said before, cruise control is only built for one situation. The city is full of unpredictable pedestrians, cyclists and other obstacles that the freeway doesn’t have. In addition, most cars do not allow activating the cruise control below a certain speed, which means that it is impossible to use the cruise control at city speeds.
  • When you’re in heavy traffic. When you’re on the highway, there’s still potential for heavy traffic, just like in the city. Once the traffic slows down, you’ll need to disable your cruise control so you can manually control your speed and brake if necessary.
  • When you encounter winding roads. Finally, you should never use cruise control when driving on a winding road. That’s because you need to carefully and manually regulate your speed to navigate turns and turns, and constant acceleration can lead to a loss of control.

Now that we’ve discussed when not to use cruise control, let’s take a look at when it’s safe to use cruise control.

When Is It Safe to Use Cruise Control?

You should only use cruise control on the interstate or highways in clear and dry weather. Cruise control is designed to prevent foot fatigue during long road journeys, allowing you to focus on the road and enjoy the ride without having to control speed.

Regarding cruise control best practices, always keep your feet close to the pedals, be aware of your overall surroundings, and always maintain a safe distance from other cars on the road.

Advantages of Cruise Control

  • Good Fuel Economy. When you press the gas pedal, it burns fuel. Cruise control keeps the accelerator pedal in one position so you don’t accidentally use more fuel than you need to. This helps increase your fuel economy.
  • Better Driving Comfort. On a long drive, having to keep your foot on the accelerator for hours at a time can get tiring. Many drivers experience this when they drive on the freeway. Cruise control allows you to keep your foot on the ground while the vehicle moves at a constant speed. This also decreases your chances of dealing with fatigue.
  • Avoid Speeding. Speeding is not always intentional. A driver can drive faster than the speed limit because they are pressing harder on the gas pedal without realizing it. A good way to avoid speeding is to set the cruise control to the advertised speed limit. Then you don’t have to worry about violating the speed limit.

Disadvantages of Cruise Control

  • Bad for Tired Drivers. If you feel tired and sleepy behind the wheel, cruise control will not help. In fact, it will be easier for you to fall asleep behind the wheel because you don’t have to do much work as a driver. This will almost certainly lead to a traffic accident.
  • Harder to Slow Down Quickly. If you set the cruise control and find you need to make a turn within a few seconds, you will not be able to slow the vehicle down fast enough to make the turn. It’s also harder to avoid hitting other vehicles on the road that are close to you.
  • Harder to Drive in Bad Weather. Cruise control can cause your tires to lose traction on the road in snowy, wet or icy conditions. For example, if you are facing a slightly flooded area of the road, it will be difficult to slow down and avoid it with cruise control on. Your car could skid or skid if road conditions continue to be poor.
  • Easier to Get Distracted. Drivers using cruise control will be more tempted to check their smartphone or other electronic device. He still has to steer, but doesn’t have to use as much brain power to accelerate the vehicle. This makes them feel more comfortable doing other things than looking at the road.

Related Posts

IchieTech

  • January 2024
  • December 2023
  • November 2023
  • October 2023
  • September 2023
  • August 2023
  • Advisories & Tips
  • Apps & Software
  • Buyer's Guide
  • Maintenance

IchieTech

Cruise Control: How it Works, Types and Everything You Should Know

Learn how to effectively use cruise control in your vehicle. follow our simple instructions to optimize your driving experience.

Cruise Control

Cruise control is a popular feature in modern vehicles that can make driving more comfortable and less stressful. There are several types of cruise control systems that drivers can choose from, depending on their driving conditions and preferences. Standard cruise control is the most basic system, which allows the driver to set a constant speed that the vehicle will maintain. Adaptive cruise control, on the other hand, uses sensors to detect the distance and speed of vehicles in front of the car, adjusting the vehicle’s speed accordingly to maintain a safe following distance.

Intelligent cruise control goes even further, using artificial intelligence to learn the driver’s behaviour and adjust the speed of the vehicle before the driver takes action. Stop-and-go cruise control is ideal for use in heavy traffic and can bring the vehicle to a complete stop if necessary, while speed limiters are designed to limit the maximum speed of the vehicle. Each type of cruise control system has its own advantages and disadvantages, and drivers should choose the one that best suits their needs.

What Is Cruise Control

Cruise control is a system within a vehicle that enables drivers to establish and sustain a specific speed without having to continuously press the accelerator pedal. The system uses electronic sensors to track the vehicle’s speed and automatically regulate the throttle and brakes to maintain the predetermined speed. Cruise controle is generally employed during extended trips on highways, where sustaining a constant speed can decrease driver tiredness and boost fuel economy. It is a common feature in modern automobiles, trucks, and other types of vehicles.

How it Works

Cruise control works by using a combination of electronic sensors, servos, and control algorithms to maintain a vehicle’s speed without requiring the driver to continuously press the accelerator pedal. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how cruise controle works:

  • The driver activates cruise control by pressing a button or flipping a switch on the dashboard or steering wheel.
  • The system uses electronic sensors to measure the vehicle’s speed and other factors such as throttle position, engine load, and road grade.
  • The driver sets the desired speed by pressing a button or using a lever. The speed is usually displayed on the dashboard.
  • Once the speed is set, the cruise controle system takes over and maintains the speed by sending signals to the throttle and brakes as necessary.
  • If the vehicle encounters an incline or decline, the cruise control system adjusts the throttle to maintain a constant speed.
  • If the driver needs to slow down or stop, they can deactivate the cruise control by pressing the brake or clutch pedal, or by turning off the system using the control button.
In some modern cars, the cruise control system is enhanced with additional sensors and algorithms that enable it to adapt to the surrounding traffic and road conditions. These advanced systems are known as adaptive cruise control, intelligent cruise control, or active cruise control.

How To Use Cruise Control

Cruise control is a feature commonly found in modern vehicles that allows the driver to maintain a constant speed without having to keep their foot on the accelerator pedal. Here’s how to use cruise control:

  • Locate the cruise control button : The button is typically located on the steering wheel or dashboard. Check your owner’s manual if you’re having trouble finding it.
  • Activate cruise control : Once you’ve found the cruise control button, press it to turn on the system. You should see a light on the dashboard indicating that cruise control is active.
  • Accelerate to your desired speed : Using the accelerator pedal, accelerate to the speed you want to maintain.
  • Set the speed : Press the “set” or “res” button on the steering wheel to set the speed. The vehicle will maintain this speed until you cancel cruise control or apply the brakes.
  • Adjust the speed : To increase or decrease your speed, use the “+” or “-” buttons on the steering wheel.
  • Cancel cruise control : To turn off cruise control, press the “off” or “cancel” button on the steering wheel, or press the brake pedal.
  • Resume cruise control : If you cancel cruise control but want to resume it at the previous speed, press the “resume” button on the steering wheel.
Note: Always remember to pay attention to the road and adjust your speed as needed. Do not rely solely on cruise control while driving.

Advantages Of Cruise Control

  • Reduces driver fatigue : With cruise control engaged, the driver does not have to maintain constant pressure on the accelerator pedal. This can help reduce driver fatigue, particularly during long trips.
  • Conserves fuel : Cruise control helps maintain a consistent speed, which can result in better fuel efficiency. This is because the vehicle is not accelerating and decelerating as frequently, which can waste fuel.
  • Helps avoid speeding tickets : Cruise control can help drivers avoid speeding tickets, as they can set the desired speed and avoid accidentally exceeding the speed limit.
  • Improves safety : Maintaining a consistent speed with cruise control can help reduce the likelihood of sudden braking or acceleration, which can improve safety on the road.
  • Enhances driving experience : Cruise control can make driving more comfortable and less stressful, particularly in heavy traffic or on long trips.

Disadvantages Of Cruise Control

  • Limited use : Cruise controle is best suited for use on highways or other roads with minimal traffic and few curves. It may not be appropriate for use in heavy traffic or on winding roads, as it may not respond quickly enough to changing driving conditions.
  • Increases risk in hazardous conditions : Using cruise controle in hazardous conditions such as rain, ice, or snow can be dangerous. The driver may not be able to react quickly enough to changing conditions, and the vehicle may lose traction or spin out of control.
  • Can lead to complacency : Relying too heavily on cruise controle can lead to complacency and inattention while driving. The driver may become less aware of their surroundings or less attentive to the road.
  • May cause speed variations : Cruise controle may cause speed variations due to changes in road elevation, wind, or traffic conditions. This can be a problem if the driver is not paying attention and fails to adjust the speed manually.
  • May reduce driver engagement : Using cruise controle for extended periods of time may reduce driver engagement and enjoyment of the driving experience.

Types Of Cruise Control

Modern vehicles offer various types of cruise control systems to assist drivers in maintaining a steady speed. Here are some of the most common types of speed control.

1. Standard Cruise Control

Standard cruise control is the most basic form of speed control system that has been around for several decades. It allows the driver to set a desired speed and maintain it without having to keep their foot on the accelerator pedal. Once activated, the system uses electronic sensors to monitor the speed of the vehicle and automatically adjusts the throttle to maintain a constant speed.

With standard cruise controle, the vehicle will maintain the set speed regardless of changes in the road conditions, such as uphill or downhill slopes or curves. To deactivate the system, the driver can either apply the brakes or turn off the cruise control switch. Standard cruise controle can be found on many vehicles, from entry-level models to high-end luxury cars.

While it can help reduce driver fatigue and improve fuel economy on long drives, it requires the driver to remain attentive and adjust the speed manually if necessary. Therefore, it is important for drivers to use it responsibly and not rely solely on the system to maintain a safe driving experience.

Advantages of Standard Cruise Control

  • Reduced driver fatigue : By allowing the driver to set a constant speed and not having to keep their foot on the accelerator pedal, standard cruise control can help reduce driver fatigue and make long drives more comfortable.
  • Improved fuel efficiency : Maintaining a constant speed using cruise controle can improve fuel efficiency by reducing unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, resulting in lower fuel consumption.
  • Avoiding speeding tickets : Standard cruise control helps drivers avoid unintentionally exceeding the speed limit, which can result in costly speeding tickets.
  • Easier driving in heavy traffic : When driving in heavy traffic, using cruise controle can help reduce stress and allow drivers to focus on other aspects of driving, such as changing lanes and looking out for other drivers.
  • Consistent speed : By maintaining a consistent speed, standard cruise controle can provide a smoother driving experience, especially on long, open roads where it can be challenging to maintain a constant speed manually.

Disadvantages Of Standard Cruise Control

  • Limited functionality : Standard cruise control can only maintain a constant speed and does not adjust the speed based on traffic or road conditions. As a result, drivers must be attentive and make manual adjustments if necessary, especially in situations such as steep hills, winding roads, or heavy traffic.
  • Reduced control : By taking over the throttle, standard cruise controle can reduce the driver’s control over the vehicle, particularly in emergency situations that require quick acceleration or deceleration.
  • Safety risks : Standard cruise controle may pose a safety risk in some situations, such as when driving on wet or icy roads, where sudden changes in road conditions could cause the vehicle to skid or lose control.
  • Increased fuel consumption : In some cases, standard cruise controle can actually increase fuel consumption, particularly in stop-and-go traffic, where frequent acceleration and deceleration can lead to higher fuel consumption than maintaining a constant speed.
  • Maintenance and repair costs : If the cruise controle system malfunctions, it can be costly to repair or replace.

2. Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is an advanced form of speed control that uses sensors and radar to detect the distance between the driver’s car and the vehicle ahead, unlike other types of cruise control systems. This type of cruise control automatically adjusts the speed of the vehicle to maintain a safe following distance and can even bring the vehicle to a complete stop if necessary.

The system uses sensors and radar to detect the distance between the driver’s car and the vehicle ahead. If the vehicle ahead slows down or stops, the ACC system automatically applies the brakes to slow down or stop the car, maintaining a safe distance. When the road clears or the vehicle ahead moves faster, the ACC system accelerates the car to the driver’s set speed or the maximum speed limit.

Some ACC systems also come with collision warning systems that alert the driver if the car gets too close to the vehicle ahead. Some systems can also detect pedestrians, animals, or other obstacles and apply the brakes if necessary.

Advantages Of Adaptive Cruise Control

  • Enhanced safety : By automatically maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, adaptive cruise control can help reduce the risk of rear-end collisions, making it a valuable safety feature.
  • Reduced driver fatigue : Adaptive speed control can reduce driver fatigue by taking over the task of maintaining a safe following distance, especially in heavy traffic.
  • Increased convenience : ACC can make long drives more comfortable and less stressful, as the driver doesn’t have to constantly adjust the speed.
  • Fuel efficiency : By maintaining a constant speed and reducing unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, adaptive cruise control can help improve fuel efficiency.

Disadvantages Of Adaptive Cruise Control

  • High cost : ACC systems are more expensive than traditional cruise control systems.
  • Limited functionality : ACC may not work in all driving situations, such as on winding roads or in heavy rain or snow.
  • Over-reliance : Drivers may become too reliant on the ACC system and neglect to pay attention to the road and other vehicles, which can lead to accidents.
  • Complex operation : ACC systems can be complex and difficult to operate, requiring drivers to understand how the system works and how to use it correctly.

3. Intelligent Cruise Control

Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), also known as Active Cruise Control (ACC), is an advanced form of cruise controle that uses sensors and cameras to detect the distance and speed of the vehicles ahead. ICC not only maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead but also adjusts the speed of the vehicle to match the flow of traffic.

The system uses a forward-facing camera and sensors to detect the speed and distance of the vehicle in front of the driver. If the vehicle ahead slows down or speeds up, ICC automatically adjusts the speed of the driver’s car to maintain a safe following distance. Unlike regular speed control, ICC can also bring the car to a complete stop and resume driving when the vehicle ahead starts moving again.

ICC systems can also recognize lane markings and keep the car centred within the lane, providing additional safety and convenience benefits. Some ICC systems can even detect and respond to pedestrians and other obstacles, providing an added layer of safety.

Advantages Of Intelligent Cruise Control

  • Increased safety : By automatically adjusting the speed and maintaining a safe following distance, ICC can help prevent accidents and reduce the risk of collisions.
  • Reduced driver fatigue : ICC can reduce driver fatigue and make long drives more comfortable, especially in heavy traffic.
  • Improved fuel efficiency : By maintaining a constant speed and reducing unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, ICC can help improve fuel efficiency.
  • Enhanced convenience : ICC can make driving more convenient and less stressful, as the system takes care of maintaining a safe distance and speed.

Disadvantages Of Intelligent Cruise Control

  • High cost : ICC systems can be expensive, especially in luxury cars.
  • Complex operation : ICC systems can be complex and difficult to operate, requiring drivers to understand how the system works and how to use it correctly.
  • Limited functionality : ICC may not work in all driving situations, such as on winding roads or in heavy rain or snow.
  • Over-reliance : Drivers may become too reliant on the ICC system and neglect to pay attention to the road and other vehicles, which can lead to accidents.

4. Stop-and-Go Cruise Control

Stop-and-Go Cruise Control is an advanced form of speed control, Unlike other types of cruise controle systems. It can maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, even in stop-and-go traffic. This type of cruise controle is designed to help drivers reduce stress and fatigue when driving in heavy traffic conditions. The system uses sensors and cameras to detect the distance and speed of the vehicle ahead.

When traffic slows down or comes to a stop, the Stop-and-Go Cruise Control system automatically applies the brakes to bring the car to a complete stop. When the traffic ahead starts moving again, the system automatically accelerates the car to follow the flow of traffic.

Stop-and-Go speed control systems can help reduce the stress and fatigue of driving in heavy traffic, as the system takes care of maintaining a safe distance and speed. Some systems also have the ability to recognize and respond to pedestrians and other obstacles, providing an added layer of safety.

Advantages Of Stop-and-Go Cruise Control

  • Reduced driver fatigue : Stop-and-Go Cruise controle can reduce driver fatigue and make long drives in heavy traffic more comfortable.
  • Increased safety : By automatically adjusting the speed and maintaining a safe following distance, Stop-and-Go Cruise controle can help prevent accidents and reduce the risk of collisions.
  • Enhanced convenience : Stop-and-Go speed control can make driving in heavy traffic more convenient and less stressful, as the system takes care of maintaining a safe distance and speed.
  • Improved fuel efficiency : By maintaining a constant speed and reducing unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, Stop-and-Go Cruise controle can help improve fuel efficiency.

Disadvantages Of Stop-and-Go Cruise Control

  • Limited functionality : Stop-and-Go speed control may not work in all driving situations, such as on winding roads or in heavy rain or snow.
  • High cost : Stop-and-Go speed control systems can be expensive, especially in luxury cars.
  • Complex operation : Stop-and-Go speed control systems can be complex and difficult to operate, requiring drivers to understand how the system works and how to use it correctly.
  • Over-reliance : Drivers may become too reliant on the system and neglect to pay attention to the road and other vehicles, which can lead to accidents.

5. Speed Limiter

A speed limiter is a type of speed control system that is designed to limit the maximum speed of a vehicle. Unlike other types of cruise control systems, which maintain a set speed, a speed limiter prevents a vehicle from exceeding a certain speed limit.

Speed limiters can be installed in vehicles as a safety feature, particularly in commercial vehicles like trucks and buses. These vehicles are often required by law to have speed limiters installed, as they can help prevent accidents caused by excessive speed. In addition, speed limiters can help improve fuel efficiency and reduce wear and tear on the vehicle’s engine and brakes.

There are two main types of speed limiters :

Hard limiters : These limiters prevent a vehicle from exceeding a certain speed limit, typically set by the manufacturer. Once the limit is set, it cannot be exceeded, even in emergency situations. Soft limiters : These limiters allow the vehicle to exceed the set speed limit in certain situations, such as when overtaking or accelerating to merge onto a highway. However, the limiter will still prevent the vehicle from exceeding the maximum speed limit.

Advantages Of Speed Limiter

  • Increased safety : Speed limiters can help prevent accidents caused by excessive speed, especially in commercial vehicles.
  • Reduced fuel consumption : By limiting the maximum speed of a vehicle, speed limiters can help improve fuel efficiency.
  • Reduced wear and tear : Speed limiters can help reduce wear and tear on a vehicle’s engine and brakes, extending the life of the vehicle.
  • Compliance with regulations : In some countries, commercial vehicles are required by law to have speed limiters installed.

Disadvantages Of Speed Limiter

  • Limited functionality : Speed limiters may not be effective in preventing all types of accidents or speeding violations.
  • Reduced driver control : Some drivers may feel uncomfortable with a speed limiter installed, as it restricts their ability to control the vehicle’s speed.
  • Maintenance costs : Speed limiters may require maintenance and calibration, which can be costly.

It’s important to remember that cruise control is not a substitute for attentive driving. Drivers should always remain aware of their surroundings and be ready to take control of the vehicle at any time. Additionally, drivers should not use speed control in certain situations, such as in heavy traffic, on wet or slippery roads, or when driving in mountainous terrain. Overall, it can be a helpful tool for long-distance driving on open roads, but drivers should always use it with caution and be aware of its limitations.

You Might Also Like

2025 lexus ux 300h: the 2025 lexus ux 300h blends performance and efficiency, huawei makes a splash in luxury suvs: meet the aito m9, china’s maybach challenger, top 10 best synthetic engine oil in nigeria, top 10 most reliable suvs to buy in nigeria, top 10 most reliable cars to buy in nigeria, sign up for daily newsletter, be keep up get the latest tech and auto news delivered straight to your inbox..

Email address:

cruise or speed control

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Stay Connected

Latest news.

Best Laptops for Students

Best Laptops for Students: The Top 10 Laptops for Students in 2024

2025 Lexus UX 300h

Apple to Integrate RCS Messaging in Iphones for Improved Android Compatibility

Recent comments.

Sign in to your account

Username or Email Address

Remember Me

  • Maintenance
  • Cleaning and Detailing

VehicleCare | Blog

VehicleCare | Blog

India's largest chain of state of art Workshops

Maintaining Your Car AC Health In Winters

Maintaining Your Car AC Health In Winters – VehicleCare

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Your Warning Lights - A Guide to Vehicle Safety

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Warning Lights – A Guide to Vehicle Safety

Benefits of Choosing VehicleCare As Doorstep Car Service

Benefits of Choosing VehicleCare As Doorstep Car Service

Hyundai Exter Car

Premium CNG Cars in India 2023

creta car

Upcoming Cars In India in 2024- Check New Features Detail

new car with girl

7 Tips For Buying A New Car For Beginners- Check Detail

What is cruise control pros & cons of cruise control.

A system that automatically manages the speed of a vehicle is known as cruise control (also known as speed control, cruise command, auto cruise, or tempo map).

The system is a servomechanism that takes control of the car’s throttle to keep it at a constant speed chosen by the driver.

It would be exhausting to maintain pressing the accelerator pedal for a lengthy period of time when driving on a highway. Cruise control is a tool that helps drivers who are driving long distances feel less tired.

The technology is designed to mimic how human drivers use their vehicles. However, instead of pushing the accelerator pedal, it controls the throttle using an actuator, allowing your automobile to maintain the same speed.

Table of Contents

To adjust the cruise control to the present speed, the driver must physically accelerate the car.

A revolving driveshaft, speedometer cable, wheel speed sensor from engine RPM, or internal speed pulses created electrically by the vehicle provide the cruise control with its speed signal.

Most systems disable cruise control below a particular speed, usually about 25 or 30 mph (40 or 48 km/h). If the vehicle is equipped with a ‘drive-by-wire’ system, the car will maintain the correct speed by

employing a solenoid to pull the throttle cable, a vacuum-driven servomechanism, or the vehicle’s electronic systems (completely electronic).

When the driver depresses the brake and, in certain cases, the clutch, all cruise control devices must be capable of being switched off both expressly and automatically.

A memory function for resuming the set speed after braking is common, as is a cost feature for reducing the set speed without braking.

Also read: https://vehiclecare.in/blaze/how-paint-contamination-works/

The throttle can still be used to accelerate the automobile when cruise control is on, but if the foot is removed, the car will slow down until it achieves the previously set speed.

Cruise control can be linked to the vehicle’s engine management system on newer automobiles with electronic throttle control.

Some cruise control systems have a “speed limiter” function that prevents the car from exceeding a pre-set maximum speed; this can typically be overcome by fully depressing the accelerator pedal.

(Most systems will prevent the vehicle from raising engine speed to accelerate above the specified speed, but they will not apply the brakes if the vehicle is overspeeding downhill, nor will they stop the vehicle from traveling faster than the chosen speed with the engine idle.)

Cruise control is less flexible in manual transmission automobiles since depressing the clutch pedal and moving gears frequently disengage the cruise control.

After selecting the next gear and releasing the clutch, the “resume” option must be utilized each time.

The cruise control system on earlier automobiles uses a cable to hold the gas pedal in a specific position in order to maintain the pre-set speed. In recent automobiles, however, the speed is controlled electrically using a program rather than a cable.

Instead, a wireless system manages the function via a computer connected to different sensors and throttle controls. This newer technology may modify the speed based on the speed of the car ahead while keeping a safe distance.

Because drivers do not have to continually push and release the accelerator pedal, it significantly lowers driver fatigue. On highways or roads with traffic bottlenecks during rush hour, drivers will find the system very beneficial.

What is the purpose of cruise control?

Before using cruise control in your automobile, keep in mind that it is not designed to be utilized in bad weather. When it’s pouring severely, for example, you might not want to drive at cruising speeds.

Driving at such speeds is dangerous due to reduced visibility and unexpected road conditions. So, before using the system, always be aware of the weather and your surroundings.

Use cruise control by following these procedures.

Step 1 : Accelerate the automobile before enabling cruise control. However, do not exceed that road’s/speed highway limit.

Step 2 : Turn on cruise control after your automobile has reached the required speed. The system activation button is commonly found on the steering wheel. To eliminate distractions while driving, it is preferable to locate the correct button while the car is parked.

Step 3:  Now let go of the accelerator. The automobile should keep its cruising speed if the cruise control is adjusted appropriately.

Step 4:  Keep your eyes on the road since it’s easy to get sidetracked when the car accelerates on its own.

Step 5:  To momentarily engage the accelerator pedal while the cruise control is active, push the ‘+’ button on the steering wheel.

Step 6:  Press the ‘-‘ button on the steering wheel to decelerate. You may also use your foot to tap the brake pedal. When you hit the brake pedal, practically all automobiles disengage the cruise control as a safety measure.

The cruise control and acceleration/deceleration buttons may differ from car to automobile. So, before messing with the system, read the owner’s handbook.

It is preferable if you are familiar with the controls prior to driving the car since this will eliminate unneeded distractions.

Acceleration and deceleration are controlled by cruise control.

The gas pedal is attached to one cable, while the vacuum actuator is connected to the other.

The cruise control system adjusts the throttle position, exactly as you do. However, instead of pushing a pedal, cruise control operates the throttle valve through a wire attached to an actuator.

By restricting how much air the engine takes in, the throttle valve controls the engine’s power and speed.

One wire originates from the accelerator pedal, while the other originates from the actuator. When you use cruise control,

the actuator moves the cable attached to the pivot, which adjusts the throttle, but it also pulls on the cable connected to the gas pedal, which is why your pedal travels up and down when you use it.

The throttle is operated by an electronically controlled vacuum actuator.

To open and close the throttle, many automobiles employ actuators powered by engine vacuum. The vacuum in a diaphragm is regulated by a tiny, electronically controlled valve in these systems.

This functions similarly to the brake booster, which supplies power to your braking system.

What is the procedure for installing cruise control on a vehicle?

Is cruise control possible to put in a vehicle? Both yes and no are correct. If your automobile is ancient and doesn’t have electronics to manage all of the engine’s operations,

you may add an aftermarket kit. However, due to the complexity of today’s electronics, installing such a kit is nearly difficult.

Installing the system in new automobiles is a difficult task since it entails tinkering with electronics as well as hardware installation. As a result, it can only be done during the automotive production process.

Furthermore, attempting to install an aftermarket kit may violate the OEM’s warranty (Original Equipment Manufacturer). Furthermore, an aftermarket cruise control kit is not suggested since it may jeopardize safety.

Except for a few entry-level models, all newly introduced automobiles come with cruise control. Rather than installing a system, it’s smarter and safer to spend that money on a car with one already installed.

Cruise control that adapts to your needs

The device may also automatically alter the car’s speed based on the speed of the vehicle ahead. Adaptive cruise control is the name of this functionality.

Despite the frequent fluctuation in the speed of the vehicle ahead, it guarantees that the automobile maintains a safe distance from it. It helps minimize driving tiredness on roads and during rush hour.

It’s also a level-one self-driving vehicle. The speed and distance of the automobile ahead are calculated using radar sensors. For example,

if the vehicle in front of you slows down or accelerates, a car with adaptive cruise control will automatically lower speed/accelerate without any external inputs.

This feature is common in high-end vehicles. However, it is progressively making its way down to less-priced vehicles. The sophisticated driver-aid system includes adaptive cruise control.

Cruise control’s advantages and disadvantages

Cruise control makes driving easier and more convenient while also ensuring driver safety. However, it, like every other feature, has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, which are detailed in the following section.

Some of the cruise control system’s advantages are listed below.

  • Reduces driver fatigue : Cruise control’s principal function is to maintain a constant pace without the need to press the accelerator pedal.
  • That means you may relax and rest your right foot. It comes in very handy when traveling long miles on roads and needs to keep a consistent pace for extended periods of time.
  • Improves fuel economy : By keeping a steady speed, the engine is not overworked since the intensity of activity is not changed. Simply said, an engine that operates at consistent RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) burns less gasoline.
  • As a result, while traveling long distances on highways, the cruise control system can help you save money on gas.
  • Allows you to travel at a reasonable speed on congested metropolitan roadways . However, as you reach the wide, smooth roadways, you may find yourself exceeding the speed limit.
  • You might not even notice you’ve been over the speed limit until you look at the speedometer.
  • In this case, cruise control can assist you since you can quickly set a speed restriction and let the system handle the rest. The device will prevent the automobile from exceeding the speed you specify.
  • Increase or reduce speed with a push of a button : Normally, you would use the accelerator and brake pedals to change the car’s speed.

As previously said, cruise control has certain drawbacks, which are outlined below.

  • Cruise control is best suited for vast and lengthy routes when drivers respect the regulations . Despite the fact that India has several great roadways, many drivers may flout the regulations, creating an uncertain situation.
  • Cattle, dogs, and other animals may also wander onto public roadways, complicating the problem further. As a result, cruising at high speeds might be difficult.
  • As previously stated, India’s roadways are unpredictable . To avoid any road impediments, you may have to use emergency braking.
  • Your right foot will be on the acceleration pedal when driving with manual controls, and it will be easy to relocate your foot to stomp on the brake pedal in an emergency.
  • When utilizing cruise control, though, your right foot will be resting on the car’s floor, making it take a little longer to reach the brake pedal.
  • This gap in response time might mean the difference between you avoiding or colliding with an impediment.
  • Long-term usage of cruise control may cause sleepiness . Your attentiveness level may decrease over time as the automobile accelerates at a steady pace.
  • When utilizing the automated cruising mode on highways, it is advised that you operate the car manually once every 10-15 minutes.
  • Because vision is limited at night, cruise control is useless. Even on well-lit roadways, visibility is poor. As a result, even on known routes, permitting the automobile to keep a steady pace might be dangerous.
  • It does not operate well with manual autos since you must change gears manually in a manual car. The cruise control will manage the acceleration and deceleration, but you’ll still need to swap gears manually to keep the RPM at the right level.
  • It might be aggravating when you need to quickly slow down and accelerate. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it prevents you from fully exploiting the automated cruising system’s capabilities.

Vehicles with cruise control are listed below. In India

Cruise control is a function found in many automobiles. This function is no longer exclusive to high-end automobiles. Even automobiles with low sticker prices come with sophisticated features.

The following is a list of popular automobiles that include an automated cruising system.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Related News

Maintaining Your Car AC Health In Winters

7 Car Maintenance Tips for Beginners in Winter

Banner

Chat With Us

How Does Cruise Control Work?

Cruise control is awesome, be it regular or adaptive cruise. But, how does cruise control work, and can you trust it while driving?

We invented cars as means of transportation, to go faster and to go further. But the evolution of cars didn't stop there. Comfort has become a necessity, leading to the invention of features purely for driver convenience—features such as cruise control.

Cruise control lets you take your foot off the gas pedal without your car losing speed. With cruise control, you enter the speed, and then the car keeps cruising at that speed.

It's bliss for driving long distances on highways, but how does cruise control actually work?

What Is Cruise Control?

Cruise control is a driving assist that maintains a constant driving speed without your foot on the gas pedal. Cruise control has been around for a long time, but only in the past few years has it become more common in economy cars.

There are various types of cruise control mechanisms, and these usually work according to the type of throttle system in your car. However, some manufacturers take this feature to the next level with adaptive cruise control, automatically altering cruise speed.

Cruise control has evolved many times since it was first used in automobiles. As mentioned before, cruise control's working mechanism revolves around the throttle system. Right now, there are mostly two types of throttle systems in the cars you see out in the streets: the older cable throttle and the newer drive-by-wire throttle.

Cruise Control in Older Cars with Cable Throttle

Cable throttle systems use mechanical connections, and thus, the cruise control on these cars works mechanically as well.

In cars with cable throttle systems, the cruise control actuator is connected to the throttle body through a cable on one side. On the other side, the actuator is connected to a pump.

Most cruise control actuators in cable throttle bodies use a set of springs and rely on vacuum pressure. The pump connected to the actuator creates a vacuum that tightens the springs in the actuator and this, in turn, puts tension on the cable. This cable is connected to the throttle body, and when the actuator puts tension on the cable, the throttle body opens in response. This ultimately gives your car gas without the gas pedal being used.

Related: What Is an Immobilizer and Does My Car Have One?

Now remains the question of how a specific speed is set for the actuator. This all goes through the car's electronic control unit or ECU. You press a button in your car to activate cruise control, and the ECU powers the pump in just the right amount to put the right tension on the cable. Lo and behold your car drives without your foot on the gas pedal!

The ECU also takes info from the speed sensor to see if the current speed and the target speed match. If your car is going faster than it should, then the ECU will release some tension on the cable, and if it's going slower, it will increase the tension.

Some cars use valves instead of pumps to create the vacuum in the cruise control actuator. In that case, the ECU is responsible for opening and closing that valve.

Keep in mind that there are various types of cruise control actuators, and not all use springs, though most do.

Cruise Control in Newer Cars with Drive-By-Wire Throttle

The cruise control system in newer cars with drive-by-wire throttle bodies is entirely electronic. Since there are no mechanical parts involved, the ECU gets the current speed and decreases or increases it to reach the target speed.

In these cars, the ECU talks directly to the electronic control module (ECM). The ECM is responsible for controlling the throttle body to accelerate or decelerate. Once you set your preferred speed, the ECU grabs that and sorts it out with the ECM and just like that, your car drives at your preferred speed.

How Does Adaptive Cruise Control Work?

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is an advanced form of cruise control that takes in information from sensors other than the speed sensor to determine the ideal speed in real-time.

ACC talks to proximity sensors such as radar and lidar, speed sensors, and a combination of cameras to take in the other vehicles on the road and the road itself. Once the signals are received and processed, ACC determines the safe distance and speed.

This system then alters the speed accordingly, reducing your car's speed if you're getting too close to another car in front or if you're nearing a turn. Once the road is clear, ACC accelerates the car to the target speed you have set.

In some cars, ACC can even trigger the brake systems to decelerate the car quickly in case the car in front suddenly brakes or a hazard appears.

Related: How Does Adaptive High Beam Assistance Work?

Cruise Control in Motorcycles

Unlike cars, motorcycles don't have gas pedals. They have gas handles instead. Unfortunately, holding a gas handle for a long duration is much more frustrating than holding a gas pedal. This nuisance has called for a technology similar to cruise control in function but different in design: throttle lock.

Throttle lock functions similarly to cruise control in cable throttle cars, except it skips the actuator and the ECU and directly deals with the throttle body.

Throttle lock works by locking the throttle cable and maintaining a constant amount of tension on the cable. This keeps the motorcycle cruising at a steady speed.

The simplicity of the throttle lock has a catch. Throttle lock doesn't check in with the speed sensors to see if it's going any faster or slower than the target speed, so it only works well on flat roads.

When to Use (and Not to Use!) Cruise Control

Use cruise control on straight roads with little traffic. As a safety measure, braking will disengage cruise control, and on a road with lots of vehicles, you'll need to brake often.

Cars naturally decelerate when you take your foot off the gas pedal, but that won't be the case when you have cruise control activated. It might be too late by the time you hit the brakes when you use cruise control on a crowded road.

This also goes for roads with lots of turns and twists. Entering a sharp turn with high speed is often dangerous. Put the turns behind you and once you have a straight road, engage the cruise control.

Though the point of cruise control is to make your ride more comfortable, it's prone to make you a bit too comfortable. Falling asleep behind the wheels with cruise control engaged is likelier to happen. Albeit this time, the car won't decelerate and will keep going.

Related: Standalone vs. Integrated Car Navigation Systems: What's the Best Option?

Adaptive cruise control solves most of the limitations that come with ordinary cruise control systems, but it still isn't flawless. Adaptive cruise control relies on your car's sensors to decide the appropriate speed, and these sensors can get blocked in bad weather. Snow, mud, rain, and other natural hazards can get in the way of your car's sensors and make the adaptive cruise control less reliable.

Adaptive cruise control has limited access to the braking system, and it won't be able to stop a head-on collision. Use the brakes yourself and remember that cruise control is only a driver assist feature, not an autopiloting system.

With this in mind, please take full control of your vehicle in bad weather and tricky roads. Don't trust the cruise control, be it normal or adaptive.

Cruising with Control

The cruise control system was first strictly found on high-end luxury cars, but now even economy cars are often equipped with this feature. This system makes driving long trips much easier, as you don't have to keep your foot on the gas pedal for hours.

Though cruise control makes things easier, it doesn't mean that you should use cruise control all the time. There are times where you need to take things into your own hands.

AckoDriveAwards Banner

What is cruise control in a car? Meaning and how does it work?

Cruising on the highway can be a lot of fun. However, it demands maintaining a constant speed for a long time. To achieve that, you need to press the accelerator pedal continuously, which can get tiring after a while. That’s when the cruise control feature of your car comes into play. So, what exactly does it do and how does it work? This article explains cruise control in a car and how to use it in different driving conditions. So, without stepping on the ‘brake’ pedal, read on!

Cruise Control in a Car

What is cruise control in a car?

It is a system that accurately maintains the speed set by the driver without any external intervention. It automatically controls the speed of a car and only allows the vehicle to hit a speed set by the driver. It does not allow the car to cross that speed limit. This feature has become common among modern cars. You can even find this feature in the top-spec variants of some of the affordable hatchbacks and sedans.

How does the cruise control system work?

Cruise control in a car replicates the inputs of a driver to control the vehicle’s speed. But instead of pressing the accelerator pedal, it uses a different mechanism to maintain a constant cruising speed.

Initially, the system used a cable to control the accelerator (throttle valve). You can find these mechanisms in older cars. It adjusted the vehicle's speed by engaging the throttle with the help of an actuator that is controlled by a cable. The throttle valve is responsible for the power and speed generated by the engine. So, depending on the speed set by the driver, the system automatically adjusted the throttle position.

But with the advent of technology in the automotive industry, the cruise control system in modern cars entirely relies on electronics. Instead of a cable, the system now communicates with the throttle via various sensors connected to a computer (ECU - Electronic Control Unit). So, when you set a speed, the ECU calculates the throttle position and engages the throttle wirelessly.

The system constantly maintains the speed set by you (driver) irrespective of road conditions. For example, if there’s an incline ahead, cruise control adjusts the throttle accordingly to maintain the same speed.

How to use cruise control?

Before engaging the cruise control in a car, remember that the system is not intended to be used in adverse weather conditions. For example, you may refrain from driving the car at cruising speeds when it’s raining heavily. The low visibility and unpredictable road conditions make it unsafe to drive at such speeds. So, always be mindful of the weather condition and your surroundings before engaging the system.

Here are the steps to use cruise control.

Step 1 - Before activating cruise control, build up speed by accelerating the car. However, do not cross the speed limit of that particular road/highway.

Step 2 - Once your car reaches the desired speed, activate cruise control. Generally, the system activation button will be on the steering wheel. However, locating the exact button when the vehicle is parked is better to avoid any distractions while driving.

Step 3 - Next, you can take your foot off the accelerator pedal. If you have set the cruise control correctly, the car should maintain the cruising speed.

Step 4 - Keep your eyes on the road as it is very easy to get distracted when the car is accelerating automatically.

Step 5 - If you wish to accelerate when the cruise control is engaged, you can press the ‘+’ button on the steering wheel to briefly engage the accelerator pedal.

Step 6 - To decelerate, press the ‘-’ button on the steering wheel. You can also tap on the brake pedal. However, as a safety precaution, almost all cars will deactivate the cruise control as soon as you press the brake pedal.

The buttons to activate cruise control or accelerate/decelerate may vary from one car to another. So, do check the owner’s manual before fiddling around with the system. It’s better if you are familiar with the controls before driving the vehicle, as it will avoid unnecessary distractions.

How to install cruise control in a car?

Can you install cruise control in a car? The answer is both yes and no. You may install an aftermarket kit if it’s an old car that does not rely on electronics to control all the engine-related functions. But installing such a kit becomes almost impossible in modern cars due to the complex electronics.

It is a complex process to install the system in new cars as you have to fiddle with electronics, and it also requires the fitment of hardware. So, it can only be done during the time of car manufacturing. Moreover, if you try installing an aftermarket kit, you may void the warranty offered by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). On top of that, it is not recommended to go for an aftermarket cruise control kit as it may compromise safety.

Newly launched cars are equipped with cruise control except for a few entry-level models. So, instead of investing in retrofitting a system, it's better and safer to spend that money on buying a car with a built-in system.

Adaptive cruise control

The new technology also allows the system to automatically adjust the car's speed depending on the speed of the vehicle ahead. This feature is known as adaptive cruise control. It ensures that the car maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead despite the constant change in speed of the vehicle moving ahead. It is instrumental in highways or during rush hour traffic and reduces driver fatigue.

It is also a level 1 autonomous driving system. The system uses radar sensors to calculate the speed and distance of the car ahead. For instance, if the vehicle in front of you slows down/speeds up, a car with adaptive cruise control will reduce speed/accelerate automatically without any external inputs.

You can find this feature in premium cars. But gradually, it is trickling down to not so expensive cars as well. Adaptive cruise control is a part of an advanced driver assistance system.

Pros and cons of cruise control

Cruise control makes driving easy and convenient, and at the same time, it also takes care of safety. But like every other feature, it has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which are elaborated in the following section.

Below are some of the pros of the cruise control system.

Reduces driver fatigue: The primary role of cruise control is to maintain a constant speed without you having to step on the accelerator pedal. That means you can rest your right foot and can stay relaxed. It is helpful when you drive long distances on highways where you need to maintain a constant speed for long durations.

Improves fuel economy: When maintaining a constant speed, the engine will not get stressed as it need not change the intensity of operation. To put it in a simple way, when the engine runs at constant RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) , it consumes less fuel. Hence, when driving long distances on highways, the cruise control system can improve fuel economy.

Helps to drive within the speed limit: You may drive at normal speed on busy urban roads. But when you hit the wide and smooth highways, you may end up crossing the speed limit. You may not even realise that you have crossed the speed limit until you glance at the speedometer. Cruise control can help you in this regard as you can easily set a speed limit and let the system do the work. The system will not allow the car to go over the speed set by you.

Increase/decrease speed with a click of a button: Typically, you use the accelerator and brake pedal to increase/decrease the speed of your car. But when the cruise control is engaged, you can even use the buttons to do the job for you. However, ensure that you are familiar with the functions of the buttons, as it may feel unnatural in the beginning. It is best to practice using the buttons in a safe environment before using them on public roads.

Works well with automatic cars: Cruise control works best with automatic cars as you need not worry about changing gears. The ECU or the onboard computer shifts the gears automatically when there is a change in speed and works well when cruising automatically. It means you only need to focus on steering the vehicle.

As mentioned earlier, cruise control also has some cons, which are listed below.

Limited use on Indian roads: Cruise control is suited for wide and long highways where drivers follow the rules. Although India has some excellent highways, many drivers may disregard rules which creates an unpredictable environment. Also, cattle, dogs and other animals may venture into public roads and make the situation even more tricky. Hence, it may be challenging to cruise at high-speeds.

Hampers reaction time: As mentioned above, the roads in India are unpredictable. You may have to perform emergency braking to avoid any obstacles on the road. When driving with manual controls, your right foot will be on the accelerator pedal, and it is easy to move your foot to step on the brake pedal in an emergency. But, when using cruise control, your right foot will be resting on the floor of the car, and it may take a bit more time to reach the brake pedal. This difference in reaction time may be the difference between you avoiding an obstacle or crashing into it.

Can induce drowsiness: If you use cruise control for long durations, you may end up feeling drowsy. Since the car is accelerating at a constant speed, your alertness level may drop in the long run. Hence, it is recommended that you manually control the vehicle once every 10-15 minutes when using the automatic cruising feature on highways.

Cannot use at night: Cruise control is of no use during night drives as the visibility is poor. Even with well-lit roads, the visibility is not as good as daylight. So, allowing the car to maintain a constant speed may be a safety concern, even on roads that are familiar to you.

It does not work well with manual cars: In a manual car, you have to change gears by yourself. The cruise control will handle the acceleration/deceleration, but you still need to shift the gears manually to maintain the optimum RPM. It can be irritating at times when you need to slow down and accelerate immediately. It may not be a dealbreaker, but it kind of refrains you from experiencing the full potential of the automatic cruising system.

Cruise control vs adaptive cruise control: Key differences

The below table highlights the key differences between cruise control and adaptive cruise control.

What is the difference between cruise control and speed limiter?

Sometimes you may get confused between cruise control and speed limiter as both are related to the car's speed. Refer to the table below to understand the difference between both the systems.

List of cruise control cars In India

Cruise control is a feature that we can see in a lot of cars. Gone are the days when this feature was limited to premium vehicles. Even vehicles with affordable price tags are equipped with intelligent features. Here’s the list of popular cars with the automatic cruising system.

List of adaptive cruise control cars in India

Adaptive cruise control is the more advanced version of the standard automatic cruising system. Currently, this system can be seen only in premium cars in India. Below is the list of popular cars with adaptive cruise control.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions related to cruise control in cars.

No, it is not a standard feature in cars. However, almost all vehicles costing above Rs. 5 lakhs are equipped with cruise control.

It is not advisable to install an aftermarket cruise control kit in your car as new vehicles have complex electronics. Moreover, installing such a kit involves a complicated process, and it may also void the warranty provided by the car manufacturer.

Typically, the cruise control button is located on the steering wheel for easy access. However, the location of the button may vary depending on the make and model.

Yes, you can use cruise control in a manual car. However, you need to manually control the gear shifts when the vehicle slows down or accelerates when the system is engaged.

Depreciation Rate on Second-Hand Cars: What is It and How It is Calculated?

Team AckoDrive Dec 14, 2023

Tata Nexon Maintenance: Tips and Tricks You Must Follow To Enjoy a Smooth Ride

Team AckoDrive Dec 11, 2023

Why is the Tata Nexon Costly?

Team AckoDrive Dec 6, 2023

Do's and Don'ts to Protect Your Car from Cyclones

Team AckoDrive Dec 5, 2023

Is Tata Nexon Good for a Long-Distance Drive?

All Articles

Facebook

  • Available Cars
  • Testimonials

Car From Japan

  • Driving Tips

When You Should & Shouldn’t Use Cruise Control While Driving

social

Cruise control has long been a popular feature in many vehicles. While it’s somewhat helpful for long trips, it also tempts drivers to sacrifice safety for convenience. However, drivers may have difficulty knowing when it’s safe to use cruise control features on the road. Here’s an overview of what cruise control does and when it’s better to drive manually.

What Is the Difference Between Conventional Cruise Control and Adaptive Cruise Control?

Conventional cruise control is a relatively older form of automatic acceleration that maintains a speed set by the driver. In other words, it doesn’t adapt to surrounding conditions and stays constant until shut off. For example, if you have cruise control set to 60 mph, the vehicle maintains that speed until you manually brake, accelerate, or turn off cruise control.

In contrast, adaptive cruise control (ACC) is a newer form of automatic acceleration that uses radars or sensors to adjust speed. This means that if a car in front of you slows down, the ACC matches their speed. Once the car moves out of the way, ACC returns to the speed you set. The one thing ACC has in common with conventional cruise control is that it stops once you manually alter speed or turn it off.

Can You Break in an Emergency?

Yes, manually braking while using cruise control slows down the vehicle. However, it also shuts off the cruise control settings. If you want to leave cruise control settings on, you may alternatively lower your cruising speed. This may be a button on your wheel or dashboard.

What Are the Benefits of Cruise Control?

There are a few notable benefits of using cruise control instead of accelerating manually. Since the computer handles acceleration, you are less likely to rev the engine. This not only saves gas but also reduces the wear and tear on your engine. In addition, it helps you focus on steering and reduces foot pain from constant pedal usage.

Is Cruise Control Dangerous?

Since the advent of cruise control, there have been a few studies done on its impact on accidents. According to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), drivers speed more often when using cruise control than when driving manually.

is cruise control dangerous

This difference was most apparent on limited-access roads with a lower speed limit. In addition, those who disobeyed the speed limit while using cruise control sped faster than those without it.

Contrasting this study is another report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2008. They found that ACC accommodated 12 out of 14 braking emergencies. Although the two severe emergencies required driver intervention, drivers intervened quickly enough due to the notifications from the vehicle.

Another thing to remember is how certain cruise control systems work in low visibility settings. Adaptive cruise control can be particularly dangerous when driving in fog or other low visibility instances. This is because the sensors may not work properly if they can’t detect other vehicles or objects. You may be lulled into a false sense of security in low-visibility driving conditions if you’re accustomed to your ACC alerting you.

So does this mean that cruise control is dangerous? Yes and no. Ultimately, cruise control has the potential to encourage drivers to make poor decisions. However, if drivers maintain a safe speed and remain vigilant, ACC helps reduce accidents. Despite this, it’s best to use the cruise control only when necessary.

The Best Times to Use Cruise Control

The primary purpose of cruise control is to help drivers avoid foot fatigue while driving for long periods, such as road trips. Thus, you should use cruise control only when driving on a highway or interstate in dry conditions. Even then, make sure to keep your feet near the pedals and follow the posted speed limit. If it’s raining or if there’s low visibility, it’s best to drive manually instead.

When Not to Use Cruise Control

Although modern forms of cruise control have many automatic safety features, there are times when they don’t help.

cars on the road

If drivers find themselves in serious accidents while using cruise control, they should contact an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible.

To stay safe and avoid accidents while using cruise control, here are a few tips to follow while you drive:

  • Driving around town –  As mentioned before, cruise control is best suited for driving on long stretches of highway. Driving around town has many more variables, such as pedestrians, cyclists, etc. Enabling cruise control, if your vehicle allows you to at low speeds, is dangerous in this regard.
  • You are sleepy or fatigued –  Some may think that cruise control makes driving easier when tired. However, since it takes your attention away from the road, it increases your risk of falling asleep at the wheel. In addition, cruise control doesn’t steer your car or brake for you.
  • The roads are wet or icy –  Even if your vehicle has traction control, it’s safer driving manually during adverse weather conditions . Cruise control may cause an accident by spinning your wheels faster when they don’t catch. This leads to hydroplaning in many scenarios.
  • Driving on winding roads –  When going around corners or curves, you must brake to maintain control of the vehicle. However, cruise control prevents this by maintaining a constant speed, even around corners.
  • You encounter heavy traffic –  If you use cruise control on the highway, you should disengage it once traffic slows. Conditions on a highway may change at any time, so try exercising caution if you encounter congestion or other traffic issues.
  • When you’re unfamiliar with the controls –  It’s always best to familiarize yourself with the controls in the vehicle. This goes for everything on the dashboard, but it’s especially true for cruise control. If you find yourself fumbling around trying to switch it on, it’s best just to drive manually. This situation usually arises when you get a new car, are driving a rental, or have borrowed a car.

By following these steps, you’ll keep you and your passengers safe from conditions that may lead to a car accident.

In short, cruise control isn’t inherently dangerous, but it isn’t always the safest option either. If you are on a long road trip and the highway is relatively straight, cruise control may help reduce foot fatigue. However, if it’s raining or if there’s a lot of traffic, it’s better to drive manually just in case. Understanding these nuances is essential and empowers drivers to make safer decisions while on the road.

beauty title

  • What's My Car Worth?
  • Buyer's Guide

California Bill Calls for Tech to Make New Cars Unable to Speed

The bill would require 2027 and newer vehicles to have a speed limiter that could prevent them from going more than 10 mph over the speed limit.

traffic on road in pennsylvania

  • A proposed California bill aims to keep certain new vehicles from exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph.
  • The bill calls for tech to electronically limit a vehicle's speed starting with the 2027 model year; emergency vehicles would be exempt.
  • The bill would allow the driver to disable the speed limiter, which could also be fully disabled by the automaker or (in some cases) by the commissioner of the California Highway Patrol.

Someday in the not too distant future, it might no longer be possible to drive a brand-new car faster than 80 mph in California. That's because state senator Scott Wiener earlier this week proposed a new bill that aims to prevent certain new vehicles from going more than 10 mph over the speed limit. In California, the maximum posted speed limit is 70 mph, meaning anything north of 80 mph would be off limits.

Limiting Speed

speedometer, auto part, odometer, measuring instrument, tool, gauge, vehicle, car, tachometer,

The speed-limiter tech wouldn't apply to emergency vehicles. There's also language in the bill that the passive device would have the ability to be temporarily disabled by the driver, however it's unclear in what situations that might apply. The bill also states that automakers would be able to disable the speed limiter fully but presumably only for authorized emergency vehicles. The commissioner of the California Highway Patrol could authorize disabling the speed limiter too at their discretion.

"I don't think it's at all an overreach, and I don't think most people would view it as an overreach. We have speed limits. I think most people support speed limits because people know that speed kills," Wiener said, according to ABC7 news in California .

The proposed legislation is said to be an attempt to address rising traffic fatalities, which in California have reportedly increased by 22 perecent from 2019 to 2022. That's according to TRIP, a national transportation research group, that was cited in a press release about SB-961. A separate report by U.C. Berkley's SafeTREC found that from 2017 to 2021 speeding-related deaths in California increased by about 30 percent; nationally they have increased by almost 24 percent during that time.

If the proposed bill gets signed into law, it would make California the first state in the country to require a speed-limiting device. The question would then become which state or states would be next?

Headshot of Eric Stafford

Eric Stafford’s automobile addiction began before he could walk, and it has fueled his passion to write news, reviews, and more for Car and Driver since 2016. His aspiration growing up was to become a millionaire with a Jay Leno–like car collection. Apparently, getting rich is harder than social-media influencers make it seem, so he avoided financial success entirely to become an automotive journalist and drive new cars for a living. After earning a journalism degree at Central Michigan University and working at a daily newspaper, the years of basically burning money on failed project cars and lemon-flavored jalopies finally paid off when Car and Driver hired him. His garage currently includes a 2010 Acura RDX, a manual '97 Chevy Camaro Z/28, and a '90 Honda CRX Si.

preview for HDM All sections playlist - Car & Driver US:

.css-190qir1:before{background-color:#000000;color:#fff;left:0;width:50%;border:0 solid transparent;bottom:48%;height:0.125rem;content:'';position:absolute;z-index:-10;} News .css-188buow:after{background-color:#000000;color:#fff;right:0;width:50%;border:0 solid transparent;bottom:48%;height:0.125rem;content:'';position:absolute;z-index:-10;}

2025 bmw z4

2025 BMW M4 Looks Sharper, Makes Even More Power

2025 bmw 4series

2025 BMW 4-Series Gets a Makeover, Engine Upgrades

2024 bmw 530e plug in hybrid

483-HP BMW 550e Plug-In Hybrid Confirmed for U.S.

2025 bmw i5 edrive40

2025 BMW i5 Adds 389-HP xDrive40 AWD Option

2024 rolex 24 at daytona international speedway

Daytona 24 Hours Was Acura NSX GT3's Swan Song

2025 jeep wagoneer s

2025 Jeep Wagoneer S Photos Reveal New Details

2024 kia sorento driving along a mountain road

2024 Kia Sorento Adds $1600 to Base Price

land vehicle, vehicle, car, mid size car, full size car, sedan, automotive design, personal luxury car, luxury vehicle, rim,

Last-Gen Accords Can Add Wireless Apple CarPlay

2025 mazda cx 70 and cx 90

Opinion: We Think Mazda's Trolling Us with CX-70

2025 mazda cx70

2025 Mazda CX-70 Is Surprisingly Similar to CX-90

2025 audi q7

2025 Audi Q7 Receives a New Face and Other Tweaks

  • WEATHER ALERT Winter Storm Warning Full Story
  • WEATHER ALERT High Surf Advisory Full Story
  • WEATHER ALERT Flood Watch Full Story
  • ABC7 Eyewitness News Watch Now

Proposed CA bill would electronically restrict cars from going over speed limit

KABC logo

SAN FRANCISCO (KABC) -- California Sen. Scott Wiener is introducing a new set of bills to make streets safer across the state, including one that would change how you drive.

It would require any new car or truck made or sold in the state in 2027 or later to have special technology installed in the car called "speed governors." The device would make it physically impossible for vehicles to go 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limits .

"I don't think it's at all an overreach, and I don't think most people would view it as an overreach, we have speed limits, I think most people support speed limits because people know that speed kills," Wiener said.

Another part of the measure would require large trucks to install side guards to prevent pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles from getting sucked underneath the truck during a crash.

Sen. Wiener says the bills are "commonsense actions" to protect public safety.

"I think if you ask anyone, do people need to be driving more than 10 miles an hour over the speed limit, assuming you're not an emergency vehicle which are exempt from the bill, I think most people would say no, I don't want people driving more than 10 miles an hour in my neighborhood," he said.

A woman whose mother was permanently injured while crossing the street in San Francisco says she supports the change.

"It is hard to stand here where she suffered, where everything changed in an instant, all she was doing was crossing the street," Jenny Yu, a San Francisco resident said.

"Dangerous speeding destroys lives, speed is the number one cause of severe and fatal crashes in San Francisco and in California, and dangerous speeding is on the rise. Vehicles are bigger and more powerful every day, pedestrians become innocent carnage and collateral damage."

Wiener's second bill would require Caltrans to make upgrades to crosswalks, bike lanes and curb extensions on state-owned roads to protect pedestrians, cyclists and those who rely on public transit.

A similar bill was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 in order to give Caltrans a chance to do this work on its own.

But five years later, Wiener says he still hasn't seen much progress.

The bills introduced this week are expected to go to a committee sometime in the spring.

Related Topics

  • ROAD SAFETY
  • PEDESTRIANS

Top Stories

cruise or speed control

5 suspects charged with murder in SoCal desert killings

cruise or speed control

Timeline of when rain will hit SoCal, what to expect this weekend

cruise or speed control

More than 500 arrests made in statewide human trafficking operation

cruise or speed control

'American Idol' off-key sensation William Hung working for LASD

cruise or speed control

California snowpack still below average but more storms may help

Popular Sherman Oaks floral shop Mark's Garden rebuilding after fire

Thieves ram truck into Hesperia business, steal thousands in tools

Disneyland Resort unveils new Pixar Place Hotel

IMAGES

  1. How To Use Cruise Control

    cruise or speed control

  2. Tips to control your speed

    cruise or speed control

  3. Apa Itu Cruise Control ? Pengertian Cruise Control Dan Cara Kerjanya

    cruise or speed control

  4. What is cruise control and how does it work?

    cruise or speed control

  5. Everything you need to know about Cruise Control

    cruise or speed control

  6. How Does Cruise Control Your Speed?

    cruise or speed control

VIDEO

  1. cruise control 3

COMMENTS

  1. Cruise control

    Cruise control (also known as speed control, cruise command, autocruise, or tempomat) is a system that automatically controls the speed of an automobile. The system is a servomechanism that takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver. History

  2. How Cruise Control Systems Work

    Hit the button five times to go 5 mph faster. There are also several important safety features -- the cruise control will disengage as soon as you hit the brake pedal, and it won't engage at speeds less than 25 mph (40 kph). The system pictured below has five buttons: On, Off, Set/Accel, Resume and Coast.

  3. Cruise Control: What It Is, How to Use It (And When Not To)

    Cruise control is an electronic device within your vehicle that controls the speed of your vehicle. It allows the driver to maintain a constant speed of 25 mph without holding their foot on the accelerator.

  4. How to Use Cruise Control Safely

    Cruise control's primary function is to maintain the speed of your choosing, relieving you of needing to keep your foot on the throttle. Virtually all cars on the road today rely on an...

  5. Adaptive Cruise Control: What Is It and How Does It Work?

    Cruise control is still the more prolific of speed controls offered on today's new cars, but adaptive cruise control has started gaining ground. More car models provide it as standard or...

  6. How to Use Cruise Control: Specific Things You Need to Know Well

    Cruise control allows drivers to maintain a constant speed without constant pedal adjustment, reducing the physical and mental strain during long journeys. Improved Fuel Efficiency: By maintaining a steady speed, cruise control helps in reducing fuel consumption.

  7. How to Use Cruise Control on a Car: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

    1 Locate your car's cruise control switches. Usually, these are found either on the steering column (the part connecting the steering wheel to the dashboard area), or on the steering wheel itself. Controls found on the steering wheel usually consist of a few buttons.

  8. Cruise Control In Cars Explained (And How To Safely Use It)

    Cruise control, also known as speed control, is an electronic system that allows you to maintain a specific speed without manually controlling the accelerator pedal. The system uses sensors and electronic components to control the throttle and keep your car moving at a desired speed.

  9. What Is Adaptive Cruise Control?

    Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is a system designed to help road vehicles maintain a safe following distance and stay within the speed limit. This system adjusts a car's speed automatically so ...

  10. How To Use Cruise Control

    To use cruise control, you can typically press buttons on your steering wheel to activate the system, set your speed, adjust your speed up or down within the system, and deactivate the system. Using cruise control lets you set a speed for your car to maintain even if you take your foot off the gas. On long trips, it can reduce driver fatigue.

  11. Cruise Control

    Reduced driver fatigue Long hours on the road can make drivers tired and less focused. Cruise control helps by taking over speed management, letting drivers relax their feet and concentrate more on steering and observing the road. This reduces fatigue, helping you stay alert and safer on your journey. 3. Consistent speed maintenance

  12. What Is Adaptive Cruise Control? Is It Worth Paying For?

    Like conventional cruise control, adaptive cruise control maintains a desired speed set by the driver. However, adaptive cruise control (often abbreviated as ACC) makes things more...

  13. Cruise Control

    This is like a more advanced version of cruise control which users lasers, sensors or radar at the front of the car to detect other cars. These can tell how far away the car in front is. ACC will match the speed of the car in front of you (as long as it's within the speed you've set). It'll maintain a safe distance behind the car in front.

  14. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

    99+ Photos Action Adventure Crime A computer hacker breaks into the computer system of the Seabourn Legend cruise liner and sets it speeding on a collision course into a gigantic oil tanker. Director Jan de Bont Writers Graham Yost Jan de Bont Randall McCormick Stars Sandra Bullock Jason Patric Willem Dafoe See production info at IMDbPro STREAMING

  15. Speed 2: Cruise Control

    Speed 2: Cruise Control is a 1997 American action thriller film produced and directed by Jan de Bont, and written by Randall McCormick and Jeff Nathanson. It is the sequel to Speed (1994) and stars Sandra Bullock (who reprises her role from the original), Jason Patric, and Willem Dafoe.

  16. What is Cruise Control?

    Using cruise control in such weather conditions would be a bad call even if the road seems empty. Build your speed. If driving on an interstate, the speed limit is generally between 55 and 70 miles per hour. This speed range is ideal for cruise control. Do not attempt to set your vehicle's cruise control at a speed that is above the legal limit.

  17. Cruise Control: How it Works, Types and Everything To Know

    Stop-and-Go Cruise Control is an advanced form of speed control, Unlike other types of cruise controle systems. It can maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, even in stop-and-go traffic. This type of cruise controle is designed to help drivers reduce stress and fatigue when driving in heavy traffic conditions. The system uses sensors ...

  18. What is Cruise Control? Pros & Cons of Cruise Control

    A system that automatically manages the speed of a vehicle is known as cruise control (also known as speed control, cruise command, auto cruise, or tempo map). The system is a servomechanism that takes control of the car's throttle to keep it at a constant speed chosen by the driver.

  19. How Does Cruise Control Work?

    Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is an advanced form of cruise control that takes in information from sensors other than the speed sensor to determine the ideal speed in real-time. ACC talks to proximity sensors such as radar and lidar, speed sensors, and a combination of cameras to take in the other vehicles on the road and the road itself.

  20. What is Cruise Control in a Car? Meaning and How it Works?

    Contents What is cruise control in a car? It is a system that accurately maintains the speed set by the driver without any external intervention. It automatically controls the speed of a car and only allows the vehicle to hit a speed set by the driver. It does not allow the car to cross that speed limit.

  21. When You Should & Shouldn't Use Cruise Control While Driving

    95% of participants sped when using cruise control, compared to 77% of those using manual control. (Photo: Pablo) This difference was most apparent on limited-access roads with a lower speed limit. In addition, those who disobeyed the speed limit while using cruise control sped faster than those without it.

  22. California Bill Calls for Tech to Make New Cars Unable to Speed

    By Eric Stafford Published: Jan 27, 2024. getty images. A proposed California bill aims to keep certain new vehicles from exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph. The bill calls for tech to ...

  23. Car Features Explained: Cruise Control and How to Use It

    Cruise control is a helpful feature that makes driving both convenient and safe. More and more cars are equipped with it. Cruise Control, also known as speed control, is designed to assist the driver when running at constant speed in long journeys. It automatically controls the speed of the vehicle and only let the vehicle reach the preset speed.

  24. Proposed California bill aims to electronically restrict cars from

    California Sen. Scott Wiener is introducing a new set of bills to make streets safer across the state, including one that would change how you drive.

  25. CA could require car governors to limit speeding to 10 mph over limits

    The bill, introduced Wednesday, would require cars and trucks of the 2027 model year or later that are built or sold in California to include speed governors that would prohibit motorists from ...

  26. Cruise Control in a Car: Everything You Need to Know

    The cruise control system uses an actuator which controls the accelerator allowing the car to continue driving at a set speed. The actuator is connected to the throttle via a cable. During cruise control, the cable is not just monitoring the car's speed but also the power of the engine. It ensures that the engine takes in the exact amount of ...

  27. These Are The Cruise-Related Shows and Movies You Have to See

    Speed 2: Cruise Control is often lambasted, but is largely filmed aboard a real ship (Photo: Fox) Not every film set aboard a cruise ship is good. Two of the most lambasted films, "Jack and Jill ...

  28. 15 Motorcycles With Cruise Control

    So, below, you will find the original ten motorcycles with cruise control and a few new ones that have been added. The Harley-Davidson Sportster S is the bright shining star of the Harley lineup ...

  29. Icon of the Seas: A look at the world's largest cruise ship

    The world's largest cruise ship has set sail from Miami, Florida, on its maiden voyage. The 365m-long (1,197 ft) Icon of the Seas has 20 decks and can house a maximum of 7,600 passengers. It is ...