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The Dos and Don’ts of using your vehicle’s cruise control

If you do a lot of long-distance driving, you’ve probably grown accustomed to using cruise control whenever you travel along the highway.  While cruise control can be a useful and convenient tool, there are times when you should really avoid using it.

Read ahead to learn the dos and don’ts of cruise control:

Heavy traffic

Cruise control should only be used when there’s little-to-no traffic. Trying to use cruise control when the roads are even moderately busy could be a recipe for disaster, as you may not have the reaction time to slow down or slam on the brakes if there’s an issue in front of you.

Pay attention

Just because you’re cruising along doesn’t mean you no longer need to pay attention to the road ahead. It’s still your responsibility to stay vigilant and check to see what your surrounding drivers are doing.

It’s also important to keep your feet near the accelerator and brakes. Doing so will allow you to react quickly if you’re forced to slow down or speed up in a moment’s notice.

Keep your hands on the wheel

It may be tempting to take your hands off the steering wheel if you’re in cruise control, but you should still keep them on the wheel at all times. If there’s ever a bump in the road, your car could begin to veer off if your hands aren’t on the wheel.

Avoid hogging the left lane

Many drivers forget that the left lane is designed for passing. If you’re using cruise control, you should be doing so at the speed limit, so there’s really no reason to sit in the left lane.

Winding roads

Unless you’re driving on a straight road, you should avoid cruise control at all costs. Cruise control isn’t able to detect winding roads, meaning you won’t slow down if you’re forced to make a sharp turn. You should also avoid using cruise control on hills, as you could end up going too quickly when you drive down a hill.

Winter

Using cruise control when it’s icy or snowy outside could be more dangerous then you realize. There’s a reasonable chance you won’t realize if you begin to skid, and won’t catch on before it’s too late. As a result, many drivers’ first reactions are to slam on the brake in these types of situations, which may only make the skidding worse.

Even if the roads don’t look bad outside, you should always avoid using cruise control in the winter since black ice can be extremely tough to see.

Rainy weather

It’s also dangerous to use cruise control when it’s raining outside as you’re more likely to overreact and slam on the brakes if you begin to skid. If you happen to hydroplane while cruising, any overreaction could lead to a dangerous situation.

Keep it safe out there!