Many drivers are still put off using cruise control, despite it coming as standard on an increasing amount of new cars. Cruise control is a great feature that can take the stress of long journeys and worry of speeding away from the driver. In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about how and when to use it.
How does it work?
Cruise control is an electronic system that enables you to fix a vehicle’s accelerator on a specific speed, so you can take your foot off the pedal. Basically a form of driving auto-pilot, it is mainly used on A-roads and motorways that don’t have frequent stops and turns. It’s activated through pressing buttons while you’re driving. The main controls are ‘on/off’, ‘set’, ‘cancel’ and ‘resume’.
How to activate cruise control
Cruise control can be different on certain models of cars, but most systems follow these steps to activate the feature:
- Accelerate to the speed you wish to set without constant stopping (ideal for a motorway or dual carriageway)
- Turn on the cruise control system. In most vehicles, the buttons that control it appear on or behind or on the steering wheel, and a light will appear on your dashboard once it’s turned on.
- Once you’ve switched the system on, press the set button. This will communicate with your car to hold the current speed. In most vehicles, this will turn the dashboard indicator green. After the cruise control is set, you can remove your foot from the accelerator and the car should maintain its speed.
- To increase or decrease your speed: most cars will have either a ‘up’ and ‘down’ arrow, or a ‘+’ and ‘-‘ sign, which will allow to control the speed without using the pedals
- In order to stop the cruise control you can either press the ‘cancel’ button or simply press on the brake, giving you full control of the car.
What are the benefits
The primary function of cruise control is to make driving more comfortable, but by smoothing out acceleration and deceleration you can save fuel too. Constantly accelerating and braking will use significantly more fuel than maintaining a set speed. According to the Department for Transport, driving at a steady speed of 50 mph instead of 70 mph can improve fuel economy by 25%. Additionally, setting your cruise control to the speed limit can help you avoid speeding fines.
What is adaptive cruise control (ACC)?
Some of the newer cars we see today are equipped with adaptive cruise control (ACC). ACC is a more advanced technology that enables you to set a specific speed while the system automatically reads the traffic ahead and keeps your car at a safe following distance. It does this by using radar sensors mounted at the front of the car so your speed matches that of the vehicle in front. When the system senses a change in the distance to the car ahead, it will automatically brake or accelerate to maintain the cruising speed you previously set.
Mazda and Suzuki have a range of cars with cruise control and ACC fitted. For more information on our Mazda range, get in contact with any of our Mazda showrooms at Weybridge, Bookham and Orpington. For Suzuki, get in touch with our Effingham Showroom!