The Pros and Cons to Cruise Control

The cruise control feature in vehicles is fairly common and beloved by many road-trippers. Although there are many pros to cruise control, there are also many cons that accompany it.

Benefits of Cruise Control

The number one benefit to cruise control is controlling speed.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the estimated total economic cost of speeding is around $40 billion a year, or $1,281 per second. Since cruise control allows drivers to keep their vehicle at a constant speed, there is less risk of the driver accelerating and speeding past other drivers. Additionally, cruise control limits the amount of fuel your engine uses and reduces gas-wasting acceleration and deceleration. Therefore, cruise control helps improve your fuel economy and helps save you money on gas. Esurance noted that by setting your cruise control to 60 mph you would improve your fuel efficiency by an average of 17.2 percent.

Disadvantages of Cruise Control

Although cruise control can make a long highway trip more enjoyable, it can also reduce your reaction time while driving and impair your ability to safely change lanes. It has been reported that cruise control increases the risk of drowsy driving and leads to distracted driving accidents. Drivers have reported that they are more likely to get distracted and zone out while using cruise control since they do not have to focus on their speed to make sure they are not speeding. Additionally, it has been reported that prolonged use of cruise control leads to later use of the vehicle’s brakes. Therefore, a driver’s reaction time is decreased and this can lead to serious motor vehicle accidents and subsequent injuries.

When You Should Not Use Cruise Control

Although cruise control is often helpful on longer drives, there are times when cruise control is not a driver’s best option. For example, when you are driving on winding roads, in heavy traffic, or when you approach a bridge or an overpass. Additionally, Esurance notes that you should never utilize your cruise control while driving on icy or wet roads or during downpours, hailstorms, or snowstorms. Furthermore, you should never use cruise control later at night or when you are tired.

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