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Cruise Control in the Rain

A long time ago, the advice was not to use your cruise control in the rain for obvious reasons. But, today’s cars with traction control and stability control, disengages the cruise control faster than is humanly possible at the first hit of wheel slip, so it I believe that driving with the cruise control in the rain or even on ice is much safer than controlling your speed with your foot.

Any thoughts?


I do agree with you in regards of the vehicles equipped with traction control. But there are still some vehicles even built now that don’t come with that feature so i would be cautious in using it during bad weather and driving in the snow, personal experience.

[quote] believe that driving with the cruise control in the rain or even on ice is much safer than controlling your speed with your foot.

I disagree.

As a driver, I can anticipate low-friction areas of the road, and back off the throttle before I get there. Even the most advanced cruise control only reacts to loss of traction after the fact–you have to start spinning to disengage.

Add to this, that one might not be immediately ready to “take over” when cruise clicks off, and cruise control remains a bad idea in the wet and icy.

Don’t do it. Your traction control is likely not smart enought to cope with all situations. Read your OWNER’S MANUAL and you will find that cruise is not to be used on wet, slippery, icy, snowy and other bad surfaces as well as not in traffic, rain and snow storms.

I agree…the manual has the final word. Mine says, BE CAREFUL, in so many words. It also says in big red letters, “traction control and all the fancy stuff we give you, won’t protect you from driving like a fool”. Honest :slight_smile:
I suppose if you went over a bridge, these devices would bring you to a safe landing. Maybe there are limits.

I’m glad I could give you all something to agree on. :slight_smile:

Okay, I took it a little too far with On Ice. But I still warnings against using cruise in rain are just a left over from the past, at least on many cars. As for anticipating a bad patch, yes I still keep an eye on road conditions, and if there is standing water, snow blowing across the road (I live out in the sticks), etc. I still am pressing on the brake to reduce my speed before I hit the bad spot.

Thanks for dropping one of the list…now let’s work on the next. :slight_smile: Water can be a as slippery and deadly as ice once you start to hydroplane. Saying that you can tell the water depth to within 1/32" of an inch, while driving 65 mph is a stretch. Again, these safety devices ONLY help if there is some traction on the remaining wheels.
I think me saying I’m an Olympic athlete corresponds to your opinion of your abilities…with all due respect.

Your car has to accelerate past whatever limit, if any, the manufacturer programmed into the computer. How does your computer differentiate between hydroplaning and a Very Steep Hill? How long does it take? My cruise control is not only disengaged, but totally off when roads are wet or might be slick. We’ve had a lot of that in the Middle Atlantic area recently.

Bad idea, don’t trust your car to do your job for you. Your vehicle cannot see or anticipate for you and the chance of losing traction is still present even with trac control.

Agile Dog; many of the new additions to driving dynamics are to make the car safer and more controllable; not to make you shut off your mind and not practice any judgement while driving. Go to ANY dealership, look at ANY car they sell and read the part on the use of cruise control.

The big red sentences in Dagosa’s car manual seem to be meant for guys like you. For entertainment and education, I would recommend you rent the video called “The Darwin Awards”. This is about people who are both stupid and stubborn, and end up killing themselves. In one example a rich European woman tours the USA and rents a motor home with “cruise control”. She is on a straight road, sets the cruse and goes back to make herself a sandwich. You can guess what happened.

The regular posters here are not really trying to argue with you; they basically want to keep you from killing yourself.

As I hear your story, it reminded me of a summer afternoon spent with a friend. With the “cruise control” turned turned on, we both went aft for a sandwich. But that was on a 44 foot sailboat, and though we were on water, we didn’t worry about, but looked forward to hydroplaning.
The difference is, the landing is always soft and self righting. Otherwise, cruise controls and water don’t mix.
How are we doing “Agile Dog”, are we making any headway ?

Okay, my point wasn’t that I can anticipate and avoid water dangers, but that I am as observant as the next guy, hopefully more so. I much rather spend my attention on road conditions, traffic, and watching for deer in the dusk or dark, than spending it watching my speed just because there is a light drizzle. I have more confidence in my car detecting wheel slip and quickly letting off the gas, than I do in my own; I’m not as quick as I was 30 years ago.

Regardless of everything else, the best insurance against hydroplaning is to have a good set of tires with plenty of tread, and keeping your speed down when the roads are wet. Cruise control, no cruise control, if you know the safe limits of the car you are driving for the conditions you are driving in, you should have ORGAN DONOR tattooed on you forehead; that way your carelessness might save other peoples lives.

Nope, no headway. I still have more faith in my cars ability to detect wheel slip than I do my own. I have had the cruise kick off a couple times through the years, and it has alerted me that the road conditions are worse than I thought, and to SLOW DOWN! If the cruise was not on, a quick flash of the traction control of stability control light when one wheel slipped just a bit might go un-noticed and I would not know to slow down.

And don’t poke fun at “Agile Dog”. That refers to my six Agility Dogs (two retired), not myself. I’m not so agile myself anymore.

Most peoples perception of driving conditions in general comes from their own environment.
I too have more faith in “some conditions” in my cars ability. But, it can’t see very well ahead and anticipate and it doesn’t slow down except to react to conditions it already has encountered which by then may be too late.
Otherwise, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to detect standing water v just a wet surface.
I struggle with those who feel that manufacturer operating instructions of cars and tires, govt. agencies etc. are merely suggestions and their version of driving safety is more correct for them and the safety of those they share the road with.
I’ve investigated enough accidents to reasonable assert that there are people resting in the cemetery whose cars with ALL the bells and whistles you talk about still went out of control on wet surfaces.
Like the guy who runs unscathed through a minefield and asserts he has complete control of the situation enough to do it again, we say, "please reconsider. The trip back may not be quite as uneventful."
Any closer ?

I think you are reading too much into what I have said. To narrow it down to a simple point, I believe that with the same car, same driver, going the same speed, watching and reacting to road conditions in the same way, that the fact that you are using your foot on the gas pedal to adjust your speed rather than using the cruise to adjust your speed is not safer. My main point was that there are some conditions in which the cruise will react better and faster than we can because some hazards are not readily visible to the human eye. On certain cars, the dire warnings against using your cruise in the rain, all other things being equal, are no long any more valid than pumping the breaks in slippery conditions. Things change, the same rules might not apply equally to all cars. Know your own car, test what it does when it detects wheel slip while the cruise is on, and decide for yourself.

From my owners manual “[Cruise Control] is not recommended for city driving, winding roads, slippery roads, heavy rain, or bad weather.”

I can agree with that. If it is raining cats and dogs, if there is standing water on the road, I’m on roads that I know are icy, stop and go traffic, heavy fog, I don’t use the cruise. In fact, under all of these conditions except fog, the cruise won’t work with out being rest every time I hit a deep puddle, a slippery spot, or I have to touch the brake or clutch to reduce speed, so at that point the cruise would just become an annoyance.

Light to moderate rain, roads that look to have decent traction, no standing water, no visible spots that look like ice; I rather keep the cruise on, and let it warm me if there is something I am not seeing. I don’t care how great a driver you think you are dagosa, if you can not see a hidden slick spot, you can’t react quicker than the car can to something you can’t see.

Again, all other things, like speed and tire condtion, driver skill and attentiveness, a blanket statement to NEVER use your cruise on wet roads is just bogus.

How does your computer differentiate between hydroplaning and a Very Steep Hill? How long does it take?

Not that I’m recommending cruise control in rainy conditions, I’m not, but you seem to be falling for a very common false belief that the cruise control knows the speed of the car independent of the the wheel speeds. It doesn’t. If you are hydroplaning the wheels will tend to speed up because they are losing traction, the cruise control only knows how fast the wheels (or transmission) are turning, not the actual velocity of the car. So, when the wheels start to spin in wet conditions the cruise control will try to slow it down. Nothing at all like going up a hill when the car and wheels both slow down.

I rather keep the cruise on, and let it warm me if there is something I am not seeing
I really do understand the point you’re trying to make, and theoretically there is some validity to electronic reaction time…but

With the cruise on, you are much less apt to moderate your speed with those slight on and off cycles you manually make that could be so critical because you do not want to have to re engage the cruise…that’s the problem I see and why the manual disagrees.

The cruise control is not a safety device. Safety devices only work after it’s aware of trouble you’re already in…it DOES NOT warn you of anything about to happen.
The flashing lights say to me. “you’re now in trouble , we’ll do the best we can to get you out of it…”

It’s because I don’t have the opinion that I’m a great enough driver that I don’t circumvent the recommendations of the manual;

BTW, wet roads are “slippery” conditions as for as the DOT ,law enforcement accident investigations, insurance claims and owners manuals are concerned. That’s why they suspend the many auto races when the track gets wet, with no apparent puddles.

Just to be little more clear…wet roads are slippery because of the puddling of water between the gripping surface granules embedded in the road.

With the cruise on, you are much less apt to moderate your speed those slight on and off cycles that could be so critical because you , mentally do not want to have to re engage” - Maybe, but I don’t think so. As I have said multiple times, the correct response to wet roads is to slow down, be alert, and adjust your speed as needed.

I read my owners manual differently. It says slippery or heavy rain. It specifically lists the two separately.

It is the “Cruise Control Is Dangerous On Wet Pavement!” dogma I disagree with. You agree with it. So if you see an Acura TL in the rain with an abbreviated form of Agility Dog on the license plate doing the speed limit or less, it maybe me. So for your own piece of mind pull over and wait a few minutes until the crazy insane driving menace that is I pass beyond the range of the death and destruction that is sure to ensue at any moment.

Okay, have we beaten this one to death yet?

I’m out of breath…
have a great day !