Monday, 2 December 2013

Cruise Control - Driving in the rain

                                                                                                               
Incident:
A 36 year old female had an accident last year.  It was raining, though not excessively when her car suddenly began to hydro-plane.  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 tyres lose contact with the road, and your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making you take off like an aeroplane. She told the Officer that was exactly what had occurred.
 
Analysis:
In addition to the information given in the incident account, is the issue that if hydroplaning does occur it can get worse due to the maintenance of speed of the cruise control further worsening the situation. What also isn't mentioned is that to disable the cruise control normally you need to press the control paddle (lever) or brakes and most people will hit the brakes.  In a hydroplane or skid situation braking is exactly what you don't want to do (especially in a vehicle without ABS or anti lock brakes). The safest situation here is to disengage cruise control using the paddle and actually to take your foot off the accelerator and slow the car counteracting the skid and regaining traction.
 


No comments:

Post a Comment