Don’t Use Cruise Control when Driving in the RainTruth!

Summary of eRumor:

A warning from a driver who lost control of his or her car during slippery conditions and was told by a law officer that cruise control should never be used when it is raining.  


The Truth:

We checked with the departments of transportation for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Washington State as well as visiting several websites of other states and the consensus is clear:  Don’t use cruise control during winter conditions such as when it is snowing or icy or under other slippery conditions such as when it is raining.

The comments and warnings we found were:

…The cruise control is designed for normal road conditions.  It doesn’t know when the pavement is slippery.  Under slick conditions, you need to be in complete control and monitoring road conditions.  You’re more likely to notice hydroplaning if you are not relying on the cruise control.
…With some cars, it is possible that the wheels will actually spin faster when the cruise control is on and the car hits a slippery spot.  When the tires make contact with firm road again, the car can skid or lose control.
…On most cars, the cruise control is disengaged by tapping on the brake.  In an emergency, this adds a fraction of a second to your response time as well as the risk of the braking action itself causing a loss of control on a slippery road.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:


I learned a lesson I’d like to pass on to you. You may know this already- but the highway patrolman told me that you should never drive in the rain with your cruise control on. He said if you did and hydroplaned (which I did) that when your tires were off the road your car would accelerate to a high rate of speed (which it did). You don’t have much, if any control when you hydroplane, but you are totally in the hands of God when the car accelerates. I took off like I was in an airplane. I’m so thankful I made it through that ordeal. Please pass the word around about not using cruise control when the pavement is wet or icy. The highway patrolman said this should be on the sun-visor with the warning about air-bags.

The only person I’ve found out who knew this (besides the patrolman) was a man who had a similar accident and totaled his car. This has made me wonder if this is not why so many of our young people are dying in accidents.”

Be careful out there!