CRUISE control is an invaluable feature on American cars. Without cruise control, long road trips would be more tiring, for the driver at least, and those of us suffering from lead-foot syndrome would probably get a lot more speeding tickets.
This syndrome makes us speed or is it over speed. Cruise control is far more common on American cars than European cars, because the roads in America are generally bigger and straighter, and destinations are farther apart. With traffic continually increasing, basic cruise control is becoming less useful, but instead of becoming obsolete, cruise control systems are adapting to this new reality soon, cars will be equipped with adaptive cruise control, which will allow your car to follow the car in front of it while continually adjusting speed to maintain a safe distance.
What does Cruise Control Do? The cruise control system actually has a lot of functions other than controlling the speed of your car. For instance, the cruise control can accelerate or decelerate the car by 1 kph with the tap of a button. Hit the button five times to go 5 kph faster. There are also several important safety features the cruise control will disengage as soon as you hit the brake pedal, and it won’t engage at speeds less than 40 kph (one cannot cruise at low speeds).
The system normally has five buttons: On, Off, Set/Accel, Resume and Coast. It also has a sixth control the brake pedal, and if your car has a manual transmission the clutch pedal is also hooked up to the cruise control. The “ON” and “OFF” buttons don’t actually do much. Hitting the on button does not do anything except tell the car that you might be hitting another button soon. The off button turns the cruise control off even if it is engaged. Some cruise controls don’t have these buttons; instead, they turn off when the driver hits the brakes, and turn on when the driver hits the set button. The “SET/ACCEL” button tells the car to maintain the speed you are currently driving. If you hit the set button at 45 kph, the car will maintain your speed at 45 kph. Holding down the “SET/ACCEL” button will make the car accelerate; and on this car, tapping it once will make the car go 1 kph faster.
If you recently disengaged the cruise control by hitting the brake pedal, hitting the “RESUME” button will command the car to accelerate back to the most recent speed setting.
Holding down the “COAST” button will cause the car to decelerate, just as if you took your foot completely off the gas. On this car, tapping the “COAST” button once will cause the car to slow down by 1 kph. The brake pedal and clutch pedal each have a switch that disengages the cruise control as soon as the pedal is pressed, so you can shut off the cruise control with a light tap on the brake or clutch. (to be continued).