A 36 year old female had an accident several weeks ago. It was raining, though not excessively when her car suddenly began to hydroplane (aquaplane) and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence!When she explained to the Police Officer 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 Police Officer told her that if the cruise control is on,your car will begin to hydro-plane when the tires lose contact with the road, and your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making you take off like an airplane. She told the Officer that was exactly what had occurred. The Officer said this warning should be listed, on the driver's seat sun-visor -
NEVER USE THE CRUISE CONTROL WHEN THE ROAD IS WET OR ICY,
Along with the airbag warning. We tell our teenagers to set the cruise control and drive a safe speed – but we don't tell them to use the cruise control only when the road is dry.
The only person the accident victim found who knew this, (besides the Officer), was a man who'd had a similar accident, totaled his car and sustained severe injuries..
NOTE: Some vehicles will not allow you to set the cruise control when the windshield wipers are on.
Julie Brown, Member, St. Helens Group
Yes, it is good advice to not use Cruise Control in the rain. The cruise control will not react to aqua planing although the wheels will never rotate faster than what the speed is set at. The driver would have to brake to turn off the control or select ‘off.’
It is a bad idea in other weather as you will likely be making slight adjustments to your speed that are not possible with cruise control.
Knowing the difference between cruise control and speed limiters is important.
Lee Westhead, Lead Observer, St. Helens Group