Cruise control is a convenient automotive technology that helps drivers reduce the feeling of fatigue when they drive. This feature allows the vehicle to operate at a constant speed, which is beneficial when you’re driving over long distances. Further, it eliminates unnecessary deceleration and acceleration, saving you gas over long trips.
However, this feature also has pros and cons, which every driver should know. For instance, it’s important to remain alert in this driving mode since it can disengage in certain situations.
In this guide, you’ll learn what it is, how to engage it, its types, and what you need to do to care for your vehicle to maximize this and other car features.
What is Cruise Control?
Cruise control is a technology that allows vehicles to maintain a uniform speed, alleviating the need for drivers to put their foot on the gas pedal constantly. It’s handy on the freeway, where keeping your foot on the pedal can become tiring and uncomfortable.
It’s not a new invention, and the device responsible for it has been around for over 70 years. Introduced in 1950 by Ralph Teetor, Chrysler first implemented the groundbreaking technology on a massive scale. Today, it quickly became the standard for many vehicles since it is helpful for daily drives.
Does Cruise Control Save on Gas?
This car feature can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy. However, certain conditions can reduce the gains from it. It can help save you gas when running on well-maintained roads with fewer bumps and on long stretches where you don’t need to make turns.
In addition, the cruise controls vary by car and won’t be the same across all vehicle types. Some systems allow you to speed up or down at one mph at a time. Others have a Coast feature that lets the vehicle slow down smoothly while pressing a button and gradually speed up upon release. Does cruise control save on gas? Yes, it can if you drive in the best road conditions and keep your vehicle maintained using high-quality maintenance products and specific features designed for your vehicle.
Benefits of Cruise Control
Cruise controls maintain your vehicle’s speed once they’re activated. This system can be activated from the steering wheel or the dashboard. Here are some of the benefits of cruise control systems:
- Reduced Driver Fatigue: This is the most significant benefit of this feature. Since you don’t have to mind the gas pedal for a while, the amount of driving stress you experience is reduced, allowing you to relax for a while. It’s a massive relief on a driver’s legs and feet, especially if you’ve already been on the road for a time. It is best to use it for long drives.
- Improved Fuel Economy: Since your car won’t have to accelerate or decelerate variably while on the road, this constant speed provides the best conditions to boost fuel efficiency. You won’t need to unnecessarily speed up or slow down because your foot got tired stepping on the gas pedal.
- Safer Driving: You automatically maintain a safe driving speed when cruise controls are engaged. It can be tempting to speed up unnecessarily on long stretches of empty roads, which increases your risk of getting into an accident if something wrong happens.
- Improved Focus: Since you don’t have to mind the gas pedal that much, you can focus better as you watch for other potential problems. You can better look at road signs and have enough time to avoid hazards you encounter as you drive.
- Forward Collision Warning: Many cruise control systems have forward collision warnings, which warn you if the vehicle in front of you gets too close, minimizing the chances of collision.
- Automatic Braking: If your system has a forward collision warning, it is likely equipped with automatic braking. If a collision is imminent, your car’s automated system will apply ample braking, slowing your vehicle down to a safer speed and distance until it comes to a complete stop if needed.
- Adaptive Speed: Some cruise control systems use your car’s GPS, radar, or camera to determine the appropriate speed while driving. Some systems may also be able to detect and interpret the posted speed limits on the road and adjust your car’s speed accordingly.
Downsides of This System
Unfortunately, just like any tool or advanced automobile system, cruise controls also have a few drawbacks:
- It May Cause Drowsiness: When drivers focus too much on road conditions and viewing landscapes while driving constantly, it can cause drowsiness in some people. Alertness levels may drop since you’re not as actively involved while driving.
- It May Reduce Driver Awareness: Relying too much on this automatic system can lead to reduced attention and awareness. Some may even feel too relaxed while driving, causing them to overlook traffic and road conditions.
- Application Limits: You can’t use cruise controls on all driving conditions. It isn’t suitable in heavy traffic and isn’t supposed to be engaged when driving uphill. These conditions require manual adjustments made by drivers using their best judgment.
Types of Cruise Control Systems
As mentioned earlier, there are several types of cruise control systems available, and each vehicle will have a different one installed:
1. Speed Limiter
This variant will cap the speed of your vehicle from 120 mph to 180 mph, discouraging reckless driving. Additional limiter settings can be added as an aftermarket feature.
2. Adaptive Cruise Control
As mentioned earlier, this variant uses your vehicle’s sensors to determine a safe distance from other cars sharing the road with you. It can automatically reduce or increase your speed depending on the relative distance of the vehicle in front of your car.
3. Semi-Autonomous System
Luxury car manufacturers such as Audi and Tesla introduced this type of cruise control system. It’s similar to adaptive systems but has added features such as steering assist and lane guidance.
Use Cruise Controls Wisely
Just like all advanced car features, cruise controls should be used appropriately. It should be disengaged when there’s traffic, poor road conditions, or when driving up and down hilly terrain. Maintaining your car’s systems to ensure optimal performance is also essential. At Berryman Products, we provide industrial-grade products to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. Call today or fill out this form for inquiries and expert tips.