FW¦ Cruise Control In The Rain

Submitted by mmcvey on December 21, 2008

Date: Sunday, December 21, 2008
Location: Kilgore, TX
Section: scitech
Tags: snopes, spam, fw, cruise control

The email as FWed to me:

FW: Just in case you weren't aware!!

> Some of you may already know this. I have verified it with SNOPES.
> ________________________________
> I wonder how many people know about this ~
> A 36 year old female had an accident several weeks ago and totaled her
> car. A resident of Kilgore , Texas , she was traveling between
> Gladewater & Kilgore. It was raining, though not excessively, when her
> car suddenly began to hydro-plane and literally flew through the air.
> She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden
> occurrence!
> When she explained to the highway patrolman 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 highway patrolman told her if the cruise control is on when
> your car begins to hydro-plane and your tires lose contact with the
> pavement, your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making
> you take off like an airplane. She told the patrolman that was exactly
> what had occurred.
> The patrolman said this warning should be listed, on the driver's seat
> ICY, along with the airbag warning. We tell our teenagers to set the
> cruise control and drive a safe speed - but we don't tell them to use
> the cruise control only when the pavement is dry.
> The only person the accident victim found, who knew this (besides the
> patrolman), was a man who had had a similar accident, totaled his car
> and sustained severe injuries.
> NOTE: Some vehicles (like the Toyota Sienna Limited XLE) will not
> allow you
> to set the cruise control when the windshield wipers are on.

I have also verified this with SNOPES.COM, and it does appear that while the specifics and the anecdote are somewhat flimsy, the caution is itself a truism. However, it should be noted that this truism is based more upon the condition of the roads and less on cruise control. Realistically, cruise control does not allow you to stop your vehicle within an appropriate amount of time before your loss of control is fully realized. Some vehicles must have the cruise disengaged manually and merely tapping the brakes will do little than pause the forward motion. The moment you let up on the brake pedal you're moving back to the currently set speed. This poses a problem. SNOPES also indicates, as mentioned above, that driving on a slippery road is a problem anyway and one that requires great care and attention.

Cruise control allows us to be lazy at a time when we should really be paying attention. I don't use it, but my wife says I'm a control freak anyway...

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