Lately, driving in the rain hasn’t been a problem for most of us Texans, as we have had a pretty long dry spell in many areas! Below is an email that has circulated for a while; however, following other research on this topic, we hope to convey to you just how dangerous using cruise control during inclement weather can be:
A 36 year-old female had an accident, totaling her car. A resident of Kilgore, Texas, she was traveling between Gladewater & Kilgore. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to hydroplane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence! When she explained to the highway patrolman what had happened he told her something that every driver should know – NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE CONTROL ON. She thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe consistent speed in the rain. But the highway patrolman told her that if the cruise control is on when your car begins to hydroplane and your tires lose contact with the pavement, your car accelerates to a higher rate of speed, making you take off like an airplane.
According to an article by the Utah State Highway Patrol, the rate of speed can be 10-15 mph faster than the set speed.
This advice from a South Dakota State Trooper: “Your cruise control does not know the difference in road surface types. This makes having it activated is dangerous on slippery roads. Unless the driver turns it off or taps the brake pedal, the vehicle will not slow down during a skid. There is no state law that addresses this issue. Like much of life, this is a decision that you must make, on your own, when you think it is necessary. There are a lot of people who do not have the understanding of the mechanics of cruise control and do not know of its dangerous consequences. So, as a law enforcement officer and a concerned citizen, I urge you to turn off the cruise control in bad weather, and take control of your vehicle.”We tell our teenagers to set the cruise control and drive a safe speed – another valuable lesson is to tell them to use the cruise control only when the pavement is dry.