Why You Should Avoid Cruise Control During Bad Weather
The skies are overcast, and the wind is howling, but you’re warm and toasty in your car, breezing along the highway with your cruise control set at a steady 70 mph. Traffic is pretty light on this chilly afternoon, and your coffee thermos is still halfway full from the last stop. Your road trip couldn’t be any better until raindrops suddenly begin to splatter on your windshield.
Before you know it you’re driving through a steady rain that only falls heavier the further you continue in the same direction. You consider slowing down and shutting off cruise control, but you’re making outstanding time. Besides, the rain doesn’t seem that bad. So on you drive through the storm at the same speed, a loner in the left lane.
In a best case scenario, no one will be in the left lane, and your tires will continue to channel water away from the tread even as the rain continues to fall. But the reality is that other drivers will end up in the left lane, and they’ll continually press their brakes to maintain control of their vehicles. Even if they move out of your way, your risk of hydroplaning increases as the rain pools on the roadway and you sustain your speed.
Hydroplaning occurs when your tires can’t channel water away from the tread, causing your tires to lose traction with the road, which immediately puts you in danger. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost half of weather-related crashes happen during rainfall. These accidents are due, in part, to drivers' failing to adjust their driving habits to inclement conditions. The faster you drive in wet weather, the greater your chances are of hydroplaning. And if you start to slip with cruise control on, your car will continue to make adjustments to maintain speed, which could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
If you’re driving in wet weather, always leave cruise control off until mild weather returns. You’ll not only keep yourself safe, but you’ll make the roads safer for other drivers. As the weather gets colder, remember wet roads can quickly turn icy and dangerous. If you're going somewhere snowy this year, be prepared for slick conditions. For additional tips on de-icing your car, icy road conditions or general winter driving, visit AAA Talks. Additionally, make sure your vehicle is in optimal condition by visiting your local Car Care Center.