This last May in Colorado was one of the rainiest on record. Being that Colorado is generally one of the more dry states, there is often little discussion about the hazards of driving in the rain. However, one safety tip that drivers should consider is avoiding the use of cruise control in the rain. For decades, studies have shown that while cruise control is a feature that American drivers like, using this feature in the rain can cause needless risk of harm. When rain first starts to fall onto a highway, the dirt, oil and other products create sheen on the roadway. With heavy rain, roadways become so saturated with water that the treads on the tires cannot process the water away. This results in hydroplaning. Both the slickness of the surface, as well as the risk of hydroplaning, are two exceptionally good reasons for drivers to be on high alert and not use their cruise control in the rain.
Cruise control is designed to keep the wheels turning at a constant pace. The best way for a driver to deal either with a slick road or hydroplaning is to take your foot off the gas, slow the speed of the vehicle and avoid sudden braking reaction. Unfortunately, with cruise control, the only way to disengage cruise control is by applying the brakes. So when a driver using cruise control starts to lose control, they will immediately attempt to disengage the cruise control by applying the brakes. This often causes more loss of control, which results in an automobile crash with injuries. Studies as recently as 2009, demonstrate that even with the advent of anti-locking brake systems, there just is no real good way to avoid the safety risks associated with using cruise control in the rain.
Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn handles more injury car accident cases than any other area of practice. We regularly see the consequences of drivers in vehicles that lose control. Not using cruise control in the rain is a simple way to avoid causing needless risk of harm to others. As we proceed from spring into summer, be mindful of your use of cruise control.