Cruise Control Errors That May Lead to a Car Crash

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on June 10, 2022 in Car Accidents
Updated on June 13, 2024

dangers of cruise controlCruise control is a safety system that provides certain benefits to drivers when used as intended, including maintaining a constant speed and improving gas mileage. However, depending on how and when drivers use cruise control, it could also lead to a crash.

At PKSD, we are dedicated to holding at-fault drivers accountable for their actions. If you have been injured in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, our Milwaukee-based auto accident lawyers may be able to help. Contact our firm today to learn about your potential legal options and whether you are eligible to seek compensation.

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What is Cruise Control?

There are two main types of cruise control in use today. The earlier model, which most people are likely familiar with, and adaptive cruise control (ACC), a high-tech improvement of the older version.

Cruise control reduces gas waste by helping drivers maintain a steady speed. This means there are also fewer drivers heavily accelerating to speed past other vehicles.

Adaptive cruise control is a significant upgrade from earlier versions of this safety system. ACC uses sensory technology that comes installed in newer vehicles. This could include cameras, radar equipment, lasers and more.

In addition to controlling speed and braking, as older versions of cruise control do, ACC systems may also:

  • Detect how close cars are to each other
  • Detect objects on the roadway
  • Use flashing lights to alert drivers about potential forward collisions
  • Sound audible warnings in addition to flashing lights

There are multiple levels and types of ACC, but they generally do variations of the same thing. You may have a laser-based system, multi-sensor system or predictive systems, among a few.

If you have a predictive systems ACC, for example, your vehicle uses sensors to detect and predict the actions of nearby vehicles. If a car cuts you off, your vehicle might suddenly brake to avoid a potential rear-end collision with that vehicle.

How Effective are Cruise Control and ACC Systems?

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that overall there was potential for newer ACC’s to reduce the number of crashes.

However, the IIHS study also revealed findings that were more concerning. For example, many drivers believe, mistakenly, that ACC systems will keep them from being in a crash. While cruise control can help to improve road safety when used properly, it is not intended to replace an attentive driver. Drivers also became overconfident, setting their ACC to speeds higher than the posted limits.

While ACC systems were found to have the capability to reduce crashes by as much as 14 percent, there is also a negative impact. The IIHS concluded that because of the way drivers misused these systems, ACC actually increases the likelihood of a fatal crash by 10 percent.

When is it Dangerous to Use Cruise Control?

Cruise control is not intended to be used in every driving situation. In fact, when used under the wrong road or weather conditions, it could greatly increase the risk of a crash.

Dangerous situations when drivers should not use cruise control include:

  • Any type of heavy traffic: Cruise control and ACC does not work well in slower, heavy traffic. The reason for this is that you cannot maintain a constant speed when you continually stop and go. Using cruise control during busy or slower traffic could cause you to crash into another vehicle.
  • When roads are wet, slick or slippery: Using cruise control when there is any type of wet, snowy or icy weather is dangerous. Cruise control is not intended to be used in this type of weather; doing so could increase your risk of hydroplaning or sliding out of control.
  • Going up and down hills: ACC also does not work on hills. You need to accelerate going uphill and then reduce your speed going downhill. Using cruise control could cause you to go too fast and end up causing a rear-end collision.
  • Traveling on winding roads: Roads with a lot of bends in them can be extremely hazardous if you use cruise control. It is important to travel slower on these roads to maintain control of your vehicle and prevent causing harm to others.

The best way to use ACC or even an older version of cruise control is exactly as the manufacturer intended. Drivers who use ACC negligently may be held liable for the damages if a crash occurs.

Injured in a Crash? Call Our Trusted Law Firm Today

At PKSD, we are here to help. If a negligent driver caused your crash, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and other losses.

Call our firm to schedule your initial consultation. Our firm is available to take your call anytime, night or day, and there is no cost for this meeting. After your FREE case review, if we determine you have a valid claim, you may choose to hire a qualified attorney at our firm with no upfront costs.

Learn more about how we could benefit your claim today. 414-333-3333

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