Is it safer NOT to use cruise control at a safe speed in the rain?
Yes. Contact your State Police and check the urban legend web sites. They all say the risk of hydroplaning is increased when cruise control is engaged.
Cruise Control is for DRY ROAD, light traffic driving. It can get you into SERIOUS trouble when engaged during marginal weather or traffic…Many cars will downshift when a grade is encountered with cruise engaged. This downshift, unexpected by the driver, can cause loss of control of the car on wet, slippery surfaces…
Open your glove compartment, take out the Owner’s Manual, and refer to the section on the use of the car’s Cruise Control.
I can virtually guarantee you that it will tell you NOT to use the cruise control while driving in rain or snow. This is simply because Cruise Control does not allow you to control the car as well as if you were not using that feature.
The Owner’s Manual contains almost everything that you need to know regarding the safe and economical operation of your car.
Read your owner’s manual about proper CC use. You are right to be suspicious. They are less safe in any less than ideal traction situation.
Leave the cruise off when it is raining. Front wheel drive cars are especially subject to control problems when cruise is used on wet roadways.
Do not use the cruise with wet roads. The tires will spin and might send you out of control.
I Believe That It’s “Hydroplaning” That Can Cause The Cruise Control To Act Strangely And Possibly Cause A Driver To Lose Control Of A Vehicle.
I have experienced this cruise control phenomenon.
Hydroplaning (tire(s) ride on water and lose contact with road) causes the drive wheels to turn at different speeds and when the vehicle stops hydroplaning this difference causes surprising, uneven acceleration of the drive wheels, rather suddenly.
Don’t try this at home.
I would recommend not using cruise control except on dry roads.
I use mine in rain, but not if it’s raining so hard that there are puddles of standing water on the roadway and I know how to react if the cruise develops a mind of its own. I have been doing this for hundreds of thousands of miles for decades.
Try this at home.
Besides not using cruise control, it is prudent to adjust one’s speed in heavy rain, slush, and snow to prevent hydroplaning, anyhow. Hydroplaning in itself is potentially dangerous, cruise or no cruise.
I picure it this way,you are crusing down the interstate with cruise off and it is raining,the road is wet. You decide to activate cruise,are you asking if as soon as the cruise takes over will your car do a 180? no it wont.
If you mean cars flying through the air, no, it’s not true. Cars don’t leap off the pavement, even in the rain with the cruise control on.
If you mean, is it safer to have total control of your vehicle during inclement weather, yes, it’s true.
When you activate cruise control you give up control of the throttle. Does that sound like a good thing to do during a heavy rain, or while driving in snow?
Common sense should tell you the answer.
What about a vehicle with traction control?
(ok, no I didn’t go look in the owners manual yet).
I don’t drive with the cruise control on in moderate-to-heavy rain, because that’s how I was brought up. But our Dodge Caravan has traction control, and I thought that feature would detect if one of the wheels began to spin as during a hydroplaning event.
Your traction control should shut down the cruise. It’s still not a good thing to happen. There is always a little delay, the wheels start to spin and then the throtle lets off real quick. Not fun, I have experienced it.
Traction control is not a substitute for poor driving habits. Otherwise, no one would have died since it’s inception from loss of control. They have.
Have you ever been driving along in the rain, had one wheel hit a puddle, and felt the car pull to that side? The reason is that sudden dramatic increase in rolling resistance caused by the water.
With cruise control on, that increased resistance when combined with the tire losing traction due to hydroplaning, can cause the wheel to suddenly slow even though the car isn’t slowing. The cruise control system can detect the wheel(s) slowing as the car slowing and try to respond by acceleratting the engine. When the tire then regains contact, the wheel is spinning (remember that it’s riding on the water) and going a different speed than it should be for the speed of the car. That can cause the sudden “jumping” effect and loss of control.
It is considered unsafe to use the cruise control in the rain…or any slick roads. It operates based on the speed of the wheels (as read by the vehicle speed sensor) and can do weird things when the wheels lose contact with the road.
Agree; every car I have ever owned has in the manual very bold warnings about NOT using cruise control in traffic, on busy roads, IN THE RAIN, IN THE SNOW and other dangerous situations.
If you really want to find out the truth, try it but get your life insurance in order first.
Thanks to all responses!