If you’ve noticed, the cars we review are always in the check if cruise control is available or not. Why? It’s because this feature is very useful and convenient, especially for those who take the expressways daily. It has become so rampant among modern cars, that almost all vehicles above the one-million-peso price point have this in their slew of high-tech toys.
Now, if you’re lucky to have a car equipped with one, we’re pretty sure you’re already familiar with how cruise control works: get to your desired speed, set it, and you’re good to go. The problem is, not everyone who knows this feature is aware of the dangers it can pose when not used correctly.
For that, here are the DOs and DON’Ts when using your car’s cruise control. Have a safe cruising, everyone!
Do keep your foot on or near the pedals
Cruise control is really helpful in resting your right foot during long drives. However, no matter how tempting it could be, you should keep your foot on or near the accelerator and brake pedals so you can instantly react whenever you need to halt or increase your speed. Better yet, if you can maintain your foot on the accelerator without applying pressure, that would be fine, too, but the farthest you can go is just right below the pedals.
So, no de cuatros and de otsos while on cruise control, and definitely no cross-legged sitting. Always maintain the recommended driving position.
Do stay mindful of your surroundings
While engaging your cruise control can mean resting while driving, you still have to keep yourself mindful of the things happening around you. Even when this feature is on, driving shouldn’t be distracted and your concentration should stay intact throughout the long drive. Remember, eyes on the road, not on your phone.
Do stay within a safe distance from the car in front
Regular cruise controls (as opposed to the adaptive type) don’t have the capability to detect the car in front and automatically keep a certain distance from it. That’s why your focus is important so you can manually keep a safe distance between your car and the one you’re trailing. Simply put, less space between two vehicles means less braking distance, and can be very dangerous when you’re running 100 km/h. Remember the three-second rule.
Don’t let go of the steering wheel
However tempting it is to let go of the steering wheel while cruising on a straight path, you really shouldn’t, at all cost. Road-leveling varies, and might affect your car’s direction, so keeping both hands on the steering wheel will make sure that you’ll stay inside the lane. Even if your car is equipped with Lane Keep Assist (just like in the Honda CR-V SX and Ford Everest Titanium+), remember that these features were only made to assist.
Besides, when presented with a situation where you need to abruptly change direction, both hands on the steering wheel is a whole lot better than fewer or no hands at all.
Don’t go beyond the speed limit
It’s needless to say that speed limits should always be followed, which means the maximum speed you can go with your cruise control while on the highway is 100 km/h. Going beyond this number isn’t only dangerous to you, your passengers, and other road users, it’s also illegal and can cost you hefty fines.
Don’t sit on the leftmost lane
Cruising at 100 km/h doesn’t mean you can hog the leftmost lane throughout the trip. In the Philippines, the law is to keep right except when overtaking. Why? Hogging the leftmost lane will slow down the traffic because no matter how fast you go, there will always be a car behind that’s faster than you.
There are many good reasons as to why hogging the leftmost lane is frowned upon, and most importantly illegal, but this one’s the most important: in case of emergencies, the leftmost lane of the road can stand as the emergency lane (since we generally don’t have one). Therefore, it should always be clear of vehicles so those cars that need to speed can pass through easily.