Maybe you’ve heard of the elderly woman driver who, while driving her motor home, set the cruise control, got up from her seat to make a sandwich, and filed a lawsuit after her vehicle ran off the road, crashed, and overturned. Whether true or not, the possibility of something like that happening doesn’t seem too far fetched. Millions of drivers are likely to use their cruise control feature every day, but do they know how to use it and are they using it at the right time?
According to Donna Nesselbush, car accident attorney at Marasco & Nesselbush, LLP, there are numerous factors that contribute to car accidents and drivers are not free from blame. Although many accidents are the result of road conditions and mechanical malfunctions, a majority of car accidents are directly related to driver error. If you have cruise control on your vehicle, do rarely use it or use it wisely? Here are some advantages of using cruise control and how to use it safely:
Keeping Up with Cars & Keeping a Safe Distance
According to the most recent data released from National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is directly involved in an estimated 31% of fatal car accidents each year. Not only can speeding have dangerous consequences, but can be expensive if pulled over and ticketed.
When you drive on the freeway, it’s important to keep up with traffic (whether moving along quickly or at a snail’s pace during gridlock). However, when driving at freeway speeds, make sure you stay within the speed limit and keep a safe distance between you and the cars in front of you, experts recommend a “3 second rule” between vehicles and when road conditions are good. For example, when a car is traveling at 25 mph and follows the 3 second rule, it is traveling 37 ft. per second and a distance of 111 ft. between other cars. When a car is traveling at 65 mph and following the 3 second rule, it is traveling 96 ft. per second with a distance of 288 ft. between other vehicles.
If it’s difficult for you to gauge distance between other vehicles or you have the tendency to speed, your cruise control I can keep you in control and within a safe traveling distance.
Use Cruise Control with Caution
While cruise control is designed to help drivers keep up with traffic and keeping a safe distance, it should never replace your involvement as a driver. Cruise control does not make a vehicle autonomous, you still need to pay attention to traffic and the distance between vehicles. In addition, if you use your cruise control frequently, it may slow your reaction time. According to a published study from APS, drivers who use cruise control or adaptive cruise control (ACC) may be more likely to be drowsy drivers, easily distracted, and less attentive to their surroundings (such as other motorists or roadway obstacles).
Additionally, drivers should only use cruise control when the road conditions are good, the traffic is flowing, and when weather is clear (as some ACC sensors may not work properly is rain, fog, or snow is present).What are some other safe practices that you would recommend?