what's the cruise control button


How Cruise Control Systems Work

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cruise control

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.

­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.

In this article, we'll learn how a conventional cruise control system works, and then we'll take a look at adaptive cruise control systems that are under development.

What Cruise Control Does

Cruise control acceleration and deceleration, controlling the cruise control, adaptive cruise control.

what's the cruise control button

The cruise control system actually has a lot of functions other than controlling the speed of your car. For instance, the cruise control pictured below can accelerate or decelerate the car by 1 mph with the tap of a button. Hit the button five times to go 5 mph 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 25 mph (40 kph).

The system pictured below 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 mph, the car will maintain your speed at 45 mph. Holding down the set/accel button will make the car accelerate; and on this car, tapping it once will make the car go 1 mph 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 mph.
  • 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.

what's the cruise control button

The cruise control system controls the speed of your car the same way you do -- by adjusting the throttle position . But cruise control actuates the throttle valve by a cable connected to an actuator , instead of by pressing a pedal. The throttle valve controls the power and speed of the engine by limiting how much air the engine takes in (see How Fuel Injection Systems Work for more details).

In the picture above, you can see two cables connected to a pivot that moves the throttle valve. One cable comes from the accelerator pedal, and one from the actuator. When the cruise control is engaged, the actuator moves the cable connected to the pivot, which adjusts the throttle; but it also pulls on the cable that is connected to the gas pedal -- this is why your pedal moves up and down when the cruise control is engaged.

what's the cruise control button

Many cars use actuators powered by engine vacuum to open and close the throttle. These systems use a small, electronically-controlled valve to regulate the vacuum in a diaphragm. This works in a similar way to the brake booster , which provides power to your brake system.

what's the cruise control button

The brain of a cruise control system is a small computer that is normally found under the hood or behind the dashboard. It connects to the throttle control seen in the previous section, as well as several sensors. The diagram below shows the inputs and outputs of a typical cruise control system.

A good cruise control system accelerates aggressively to the desired speed without overshooting, and then maintains that speed with little deviation no matter how much weight is in the car, or how steep the hill you drive up. Controlling the speed of a car is a classic application of control system theory . The cruise control system controls the speed of the car by adjusting the throttle position, so it needs sensors to tell it the speed and throttle position. It also needs to monitor the controls so it can tell what the desired speed is and when to disengage.

The most important input is the speed signal; the cruise control system does a lot with this signal. First, let's start with one of the most basic control systems you could have -- a proportional control .

In a proportional control system, the cruise control adjusts the throttle proportional to the error, the error being the difference between the desired speed and the actual speed. So, if the cruise control is set at 60 mph and the car is going 50 mph, the throttle position will be open quite far. When the car is going 55 mph, the throttle position opening will be only half of what it was before. The result is that the closer the car gets to the desired speed, the slower it accelerates. Also, if you were on a steep enough hill, the car might not accelerate at all.

Most cruise control systems use a control scheme called proportional-integral-derivative control (a.k.a. PID control). Don't worry, you don't need to know any calculus to make it through this explanation -- just remember that:

  • The integral of speed is distance.
  • The derivative of speed is acceleration.

A PID control system uses these three factors -- proportional, integral and derivative, calculating each individually and adding them to get the throttle position.

We've already discussed the proportional factor. The integral factor is based on the time integral of the vehicle speed error . Translation: the difference between the distance your car actually traveled and the distance it would have traveled if it were going at the desired speed, calculated over a set period of time. This factor helps the car deal with hills, and also helps it settle into the correct speed and stay there. Let's say your car starts to go up a hill and slows down. The proportional control increases the throttle a little, but you may still slow down. After a little while, the integral control will start to increase the throttle, opening it more and more, because the longer the car maintains a speed slower than the desired speed, the larger the distance error gets.

Now let's add in the final factor, the derivative . Remember that the derivative of speed is acceleration. This factor helps the cruise control respond quickly to changes, such as hills. If the car starts to slow down, the cruise control can see this acceleration (slowing down and speeding up are both acceleration) before the speed can actually change much, and respond by increasing the throttle position.

Two companies are developing a more advanced cruise control that can automatically adjust a car's speed to maintain a safe following distance. This new technology, called adaptive cruise control , uses forward-looking radar , installed behind the grill of a vehicle, to detect the speed and distance of the vehicle ahead of it.

Adaptive cruise control is similar to conventional cruise control in that it maintains the vehicle's pre-set speed. However, unlike conventional cruise control, this new system can automatically adjust speed in order to maintain a proper distance between vehicles in the same lane. This is achieved through a radar headway sensor , digital signal processor and longitudinal controller . If the lead vehicle slows down, or if another object is detected, the system sends a signal to the engine or braking system to decelerate. Then, when the road is clear, the system will re-accelerate the vehicle back to the set speed.

The 77-GHz Autocruise radar system made by TRW has a forward-looking range of up to 492 feet (150 meters), and operates at vehicle speeds ranging from 18.6 miles per hour (30 kph) to 111 mph (180 kph). Delphi's 76-GHz system can also detect objects as far away as 492 feet, and operates at speeds as low as 20 mph (32 kph).

Adaptive cruise control is just a preview of the technology being developed by both companies. These systems are being enhanced to include collision warning capabilities that will warn drivers through visual and/or audio signals that a collision is imminent and that braking or evasive steering is needed.

For more information on cruise control, check out the links below.

Cruise Control FAQ

How does cruise control work, how does adaptive cruise control work, will adaptive cruise control stop the vehicle, when would you use cruise control, how useful is cruise control, lots more information, related articles.

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How to Use Cruise Control on a Car

Last Updated: February 20, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Simon Miyerov . Simon Miyerov is the President and Driving Instructor for Drive Rite Academy, a driving academy based out of New York City. Simon has over 8 years of driving instruction experience. His mission is to ensure the safety of everyday drivers and continue to make New York a safer and efficient driving environment. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 488,843 times.

Many cars come with cruise control systems, a great feature that will automatically keep a car driving at a set speed. This gives your feet a rest, and helps you save gas and avoid speeding tickets. Familiarize yourself with your car's cruise control switches, located on or near the steering wheel. Make sure to use cruise control only in safe conditions, and to stay focused on the road. Once you know how to operate cruise control, you're ready for a comfortable, efficient drive!

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Operating Cruise Control

Step 1 Locate your car's cruise control switches.

  • Check your car's operating manual if you are unable to find the cruise control switches.

Step 2 Study the layout of the switches.

  • Many cars have additional buttons to increase or decrease speed (marked by a +/-) when using cruise control.

Step 3 Drive your car until you reach your desired speed and hit “SET.”

  • For some car models, cruise control will not operate below a certain speed, such as 40 miles (64 km) per hour.

Step 4 Stop cruise control whenever you need to.

  • To stop cruise control briefly (such as when a car in front of you brakes), just press the brake as you normally would.
  • If you are driving a manual, you can also disengage cruise control by pressing the clutch.
  • If you are completely done using cruise control, you can press the “OFF” or "ON/OFF" switch.
  • If your car has a cruise control “CANCEL” switch, you can also press that to stop it.

Step 5 Resume cruise control, if you want.

  • If your car has a +/- button for cruise control, press this when you want to raise or lower your car's speed.

Using Cruise Control Safely and Efficiently

Step 1 Reserve cruise control for the open road.

  • Using cruise control on busy streets can also be dangerous. Since you yourself are not in complete control of your car, you may be paying less attention. You might brake or react to other cars more slowly than normal, increasing the chance of an accident.

Step 2 Avoid using cruise control in hazardous conditions.

  • Wet or snowy roads
  • Hilly, steep, or mountainous areas
  • Winding roads

Step 3 Stay focused on the road.

Expert Q&A

Simon Miyerov

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Calculate Fuel Consumption

  • ↑ Simon Miyerov. Driving Instructor. Expert Interview. 4 December 2019.
  • ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKtBSFoAYlg
  • ↑ http://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/cruise-control/

About This Article

Simon Miyerov

If you want to use cruise control on your car, make sure you're on the open road, such as a freeway or highway. Additionally, avoid using cruise control in rainy or snowy conditions, or if you're driving through a city, since you'll need to change speed and turn regularly. When you're ready to switch to cruise control, press the "Set" switch, which is usually found on the steering column or on the wheel, when your car reaches the desired speed. To stop cruise control, press on the brake or push the clutch if you're driving a manual car. To learn when to avoid using cruise control and how it can help you save on fuel, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Cruise Control: What It Is and How to Use It

How to use cruise control.

The location of the cruise control buttons can vary per car. For your car, check the manufacturer’s manual for the location and specific instructions. To set cruise control, press the ON/OFF button or switch. If you press this button again, it typically turns the system off. The Res + (resume / increase seed) button increases the cruising speed by 1 mph, while the Set – (set speed / reduce speed) button decreases it by 1 mph. To shut off the cruise control, you can press the Cancel button or simply press the brake pedal. [1]

What is cruise control?

Cruise control locks your car’s accelerator at a specific speed, allowing you to take your foot off the pedal and remain at a constant speed. Because it’s so convenient for commuters and drivers who use the highway frequently, cruise control is a feature that generally comes standard on most models of cars. [2]

What is adaptive cruise control?

Adaptive cruise control is very similar to conventional cruise control, only it automatically adjusts the speed of your vehicle depending on how fast the vehicle in front of you is going. It may also reduce your speed around tight curves and adjust to speed limit changes, depending on your car’s technology. [3]

How to set cruise control

Follow these steps when setting the cruise control:

  • Evaluate weather conditions: Check for hazardous weather conditions and any oncoming obstacles before applying cruise control.
  • Build your speed: The ideal speed for cruise control is between 55 and 70 mph.
  • Turn cruise control on: The button is usually on or near your steering wheel.
  • Set cruise control: Press another button on your steering wheel and remove your foot from the accelerator.
  • Watch the road carefully: You will have a slower reaction time if your foot is off of the brake or accelerator pedal. [1]

How does cruise control work?

Cruise control adjusts the throttle position in your car to control your speed. It does this by a cable connected to an actuator, instead of just by pressing the pedal to adjust the speed. [4]

Cruise control safety tips

Follow these safety tips while using cruise control on the road:

  • Use it only on highways: Roads with lower speeds often have traffic lights, turns and other cars that require frequent stops.
  • Don’t use it in heavy traffic: If you hit traffic and use the brakes a lot, cruise control isn’t ideal.
  • Don’t use it on wet streets: Wet roads are dangerous, and it’s important to keep control of your car and its speed in those conditions.
  • Keep your distance from other cars: A set speed could cause you to get dangerously close to other vehicles. Not every car as the distance-monitoring system that adjusts your car’s speed based on what’s in front of you.
  • Hover your foot over the brake: Always be prepared to break whenever necessary.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Look out for other cars on the road and stay in your lane. [5]

Cruise control when it’s raining

Avoid using cruise control when the roads are wet . You might not be able to stop as quickly as you’d like when using cruise control. This could lead to dangerous situations and even accidents. Wet roads can affect your car’s ability to maintain a constant speed. There’s even a possibility if you’re using cruise control while it’s raining that your vehicle could hydroplane . [6]

Frequently asked questions about cruise control

Does cruise control save gas.

Cruise control can help you save an average of 7% to 14% on gas. When you don’t use cruise control and constantly press the accelerator and brake pedals, more gas is usually used. Cruise control works best to save gas when driving on flat roads that are free of congestion. [7]

Is cruise control bad for your card?

In general, cruise control isn’t bad for your car. It can actually reduce heavy acceleration and deceleration. It doesn’t damage your car in any way, and the frequent use of it doesn’t affect your vehicle. [8]

Is cruise control safe?

Cruise control is convenient for long stretches of driving and it can keep you from speeding if you set your speed to the correct limit. However, if the road conditions are rainy or snowy, cruise control can be dangerous. To use cruise control safely, it’s best to know when you should and shouldn’t use it. [9]  Using cruise control on the highway makes your driving more predictable to other drivers.  Instead of constantly changing speeds, cars know how fast you’re driving and can follow safely behind you or pass.

When should cruise control not be used?

You shouldn’t use cruise control in the following conditions:

  • When the roads are wet and slippery.
  • During heavy traffic.
  • On hills and winding roads. [9]

[1] “What is cruise control?” kia.com/dm/discover-kia/ask/what-is-cruise-control.html (accessed July 11, 2023).

[2] “How to Use Cruise Control: 7 Specific Things You Need to Know Well,” driving-tests.org/beginner-drivers/how-to-use-cruise-control (accessed July 11, 2023).

[3] “What Is Adaptive Cruise Control? Is It Worth Paying For?” Stefan Ogbac, motortrend.com/features/adaptive-cruise-control (accessed June 2, 2020).

[4] “How Cruise Control Systems Work,” Karim Nice auto.howstuffworks.com/cruise-control.htm (accessed Feb. 9, 2021).

[5] “6 Cruise Control Safety Tips You Should Never Ignore,” Marisol Pereira and Carrie Adkins, getjerry.com/advice/6-cruise-control-safety-tips-you-should-never-ignore-by-marisol-pereira (accessed April 27, 2022).

[6] “How Does the Cruise Control in Cars Work?” mapfreinsurance.com/blog/how-does-cruise-control-in-cars-work (accessed July 11, 2023).

[7] “Does cruise control save gas?” kia.com/dm/discover-kia/ask/does-cruise-control-save-gas.html (accessed July 11, 2023).

[8] “Everything You Need to Know about Cruise Control,” Dave Johnston, mycarmakesnoise.com/electronics/cruise-control-guide (accessed July 11, 2023).

[9] “Is Cruise Control Safe to Use?” kaufmanlawatlanta.com/is-cruise-control-safe-to-use (accessed July 11, 2023).


The information included here is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2024 Nationwide

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what's the cruise control button

What is Cruise Control

Cruise Control Explained – All You Need to Know


Cruise control has come a long way since first invented and patented by Ralph Teetor in 1950, who originally named it the “Speedostat”. Chrysler Corporation was the first manufacturer to offer the groundbreaking mechanism as an option on several of its luxury vehicle models nine years later. Today, cruise control is rapidly becoming the standard on all new vehicles, providing drivers with increased convenience on their daily drive.

As you’re learning how to operate a vehicle , understanding cruise control will help increase your comfort behind the wheel and knowledge of driving.

What is Cruise Control?

Cruise control is an electronic device within your vehicle that controls the speed of your vehicle. It allows the driver to maintain a constant speed of 25 mph without holding their foot on the accelerator. Although the feature has been around for 70 years, automotive manufacturers continue to improve upon the technology to provide drivers with increased comfort, luxury, and convenience whenever they’re behind the wheel.

cars driving on a freeway with little traffic

Different Types of Cruise Control

There are 3 types of cruise control systems.

  • Speed Limiter
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Semi-autonomous Cruise Control

What is a Speed Limiter?

A speed limiter will limit how fast the driver can accelerate behind the wheel. All modern vehicles contain a standard speed limiter capping speed between 120 mph and 180 mph depending to protect the vehicle’s engine and discourage reckless driving. However, an additional limiter can be added as an option in many European-made cars, as well as Tesla, Ford, and Nissan. Drivers are still required to keep their foot on the pedal to keep their vehicle in motion, but will not be able to accelerate past a predefined speed limit.

What is Adaptive Cruise Control?

Adaptive cruise c ontrol uses sensors around the vehicle’s exterior to maintain speed while keeping a safe following distance from the car ahead. The system will slow you down and speed you up as the flow of traffic fluctuates throughout your commute, removing a lot of the stress from daily driving. However, adaptive cruise control may not work well in bad weather or protect you from sudden movements, so you will want to always keep your full attention on the road.

What is Semi-autonomous Cruise Control?

Luxury automakers such as Tesla and Audi are implementing the newest rendition of cruise control on their latest vehicle models – Semi-autonomous Cruise Control. It works largely the same as adaptive cruise control, but assists drivers with lane guidance and steering. There are several variations of semi-autonomous cruise control that include additional convenience features for the driver.

How to Use Cruise Control – 6 Step Guide

These are the steps to using cruise control effectively.

  • Observe weather conditions
  • Build speed
  • Engage cruise control
  • Set cruise control
  • Watch the road and steer
  • Brake to disengage

1 – Observe weather conditions

As mentioned, cruise control may become inconsistent in rainy, snowy, or otherwise hazardous conditions. If you must drive in this situation, it may be a better idea to do so manually. Cruise control works best on a clear day with constant traffic flow.

what's the cruise control button

2 – Build speed

Accelerate to your desired speed as you prepare to activate cruise control. US highways have posted speed limits between 55 mph and 75 mph. Do not attempt to set cruise control when you are traveling over the speed limit.

3 – Engage cruise control

Once you’ve reached your desired speed, engage the cruise control. This step will vary widely based on your vehicle make and model, however, many cruise control settings are accessible from the steering wheel controls. Check your owner’s manual for further information.

4 – Set cruise control

After turning on cruise control, you’ll need to set your desired speed. Many systems set the cruise control at the current speed, while others require you to manually set one. You can increase and decrease this speed as needed without interrupting the mechanism.

5 – Watch the road and steer

Watching the road is essential when cruise control is engaged. Cruise control is not a substitute for a human driver and will require supervision at every step. If you are using a semi-autonomous system, you will not need to steer but will need to keep at least one hand on the wheel for safety measures.

what's the cruise control button

6 – Brake to disengage

When cruise control is no longer needed, or you need to quickly make a maneuver, simply apply pressure to the brakes to disengage the system. Once deactivated, you will be in full control of your vehicle once again.

When NOT to Use Cruise Control

While cruise control is a convenient feature for modern drivers, it is not perfect for all circumstances. In fact, utilizing the system can be quite dangerous if you’re not careful. Be sure not to use cruise control under these conditions.

Heavy Traffic

Heavy, or stop-and-go traffic is not ideal for safely using cruise control. When engaging cruise control on the highway, ensure your lane is clear and there are no vehicles stopping ahead.

highway with heavy traffic

Wet or Icy Conditions

You need to be driving slowly while on wet and icy roads. While cruise control keeps a constant, predetermined speed, it takes away a lot of the manual control needed to stay safe when it’s raining or snowing.

City Driving

While driving through the city, you’ll face a number of stop lights and stop signs that will require manual braking. This action will automatically disengage cruise control.

Winding Roads

Winding roads require more attention than straight, flat streets. Cruise control systems, even adaptable cruise control, may not always detect these streets correctly, causing accidents.

winding road in the mountains

Fatigued Driving

Driving while fatigued is never a good idea, but even less so while using cruise control. Utilizing the system may add to your fatigue, as you give your vehicle more control of the journey. If you’re even the least bit tired, you should never turn on cruise control.

As you can see, cruise control is a great way to relieve much of the stress that comes with everyday driving. The constant rate of speed can also drastically improve fuel efficiency for longer drivers. Cruise control has had a positive impact on the driving industry for 70 years and shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon.


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How to Use Cruise Control: Specific Things You Need to Know Well

Discover expert insights and practical tips on using cruise control effectively. This comprehensive guide covers everything from basic operations to advanced features, safety tips, and troubleshooting.

what's the cruise control button

Written by Andrei Zakhareuski. With over 16 years of expertise, Andrei leads Driving-Tests.org, a top online resource for driver education. His leadership has established vital partnerships with over 2,600 libraries, educational bodies, and state agencies.

Cruise control is a valuable feature in many modern vehicles, enhancing convenience and efficiency, especially during long drives. This guide delves into the intricacies of using cruise control, offering expert insights, technical details, safety tips, and more.

Photo of a car dashboard with the cruise control stalk

​ Understanding Cruise Control

​ what is cruise control.

Cruise control is an electronic system that allows a vehicle to maintain a steady speed set by the driver . Cruise control is designed to be used on roadways without frequent stops. It’s ideal for use on highways and long stretches of road with minimal stops or turns.

​ Types of Cruise Control

  • Standard cruise control maintains a set speed until manually overridden.
  • Advanced systems, like adaptive cruise control , automatically adjust speed based on traffic conditions.

​ Operating Cruise Control

  • Adjusting Speed

Before activating cruise control, ensure conditions are safe. It’s not advisable to use cruise control in hazardous weather or heavy traffic.

Cruise control activation

​ Safety Tips

Remain vigilant and ready to deactivate cruise control instantly in case of an emergency or changing traffic conditions.

Speed Limits

Always adhere to speed limits. Cruise control should not be used to maintain speeds above legal limits.

​ Advanced Features

Adaptive Cruise Control

This modern feature uses sensors and radar to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, adjusting speed automatically.

​ Troubleshooting Common Issues

System Not Activating

If your cruise control doesn’t activate, start with the basics. Ensure it’s turned on and you’re at the right speed (usually above 25-30 mph). If these aren’t the issues, it might be a blown fuse, a faulty brake pedal switch, or a defective speed sensor. Check your vehicle’s manual for fuse information and consider a professional inspection of the brake pedal switch and speed sensor.

Failing to Maintain Set Speed

Trouble maintaining the set speed often points to sensor issues. Speed sensors inform the cruise control system. If these sensors are dirty or malfunctioning, the system might not maintain the speed. Cleaning sensors and checking for obstructions can help. Also, consider checking wheel alignment and tire condition, as these can affect performance.

Erratic Speed Changes

If your vehicle experiences erratic speed changes with cruise control engaged, this could indicate a problem with the throttle control system or the vehicle’s computer system. These complex issues generally require professional diagnostics and repair.

Adaptive Cruise Control Problems

With adaptive cruise control, problems can arise from blocked sensors or system malfunctions. Ensure that the sensors, often located in the front grille or under the mirrors, are clean and unobstructed. For system malfunctions, professional diagnostics are essential, as these systems involve advanced electronics and software.

​ Comparative Analysis of Modern Cruise Control Systems

In the realm of modern vehicles, cruise control systems have evolved significantly, offering a range of functionalities tailored to enhance driving experience and safety. Here’s a comparative analysis of several popular systems.

Tesla Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta

Tesla’s FSD Beta represents a leap forward in autonomous driving technology. It’s not just a cruise control system but an advanced driver-assistance system capable of navigating complex driving scenarios. Key features include automatic lane changes, stop sign and traffic light recognition, and the ability to navigate city streets. While it offers substantial automation, it still requires driver supervision and isn’t fully autonomous.

GM's Super Cruise

General Motors’ Super Cruise system is available in select Cadillac models and provides hands-free driving assistance on compatible highways. It uses LiDAR map data, high-precision GPS, and a driver attention system to ensure safety. Unlike Tesla’s FSD, it’s limited to highway use but excels in hands-free driving comfort and safety.

Ford Co-Pilot360

Ford’s Co-Pilot360 includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane-centering. It’s less about hands-free driving and more about reducing driver fatigue and enhancing safety. This system is excellent for everyday driving, offering features like speed sign recognition and evasive steering assist.

Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT

Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT system pushes towards Level 3 autonomy, allowing drivers to hand over control under certain conditions, like heavy traffic or on highways. It uses a sophisticated array of sensors and cameras, offering a smooth and intuitive driving experience. It’s more advanced than traditional systems but still requires driver attention.

BMW's Driving Assistant Professional

BMW offers the Driving Assistant Professional system, which includes features like adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-keeping assistant, and traffic jam assistant. It’s designed for convenience and safety, providing a balanced mix of automation and driver control.

Each system has its strengths and caters to different driving needs and preferences. Tesla’s FSD Beta is at the forefront of autonomy but requires active supervision. GM’s Super Cruise excels in hands-free highway driving, while Ford’s Co-Pilot360 focuses on safety and driver assistance for everyday use. Mercedes-Benz and BMW offer systems that blend convenience, safety, and a step towards higher autonomy, maintaining a balance between automated and manual driving.

This comparison highlights the diversity in cruise control technologies, illustrating how each brand tailors its system to specific driving experiences and safety standards.

​ Real-World Impact

Cruise control technology not only adds convenience to driving but also significantly impacts safety and efficiency. This section delves into the real-world implications of using cruise control, supported by safety statistics and research findings.

The integration of cruise control in vehicles has been a game-changer in terms of driving safety and efficiency. Here are some key impacts:

Reduced Driver Fatigue : Continuous concentration over long drives can lead to driver fatigue, a leading cause of road accidents. Cruise control allows drivers to maintain a constant speed without constant pedal adjustment, reducing the physical and mental strain during long journeys.

Improved Fuel Efficiency : By maintaining a steady speed, cruise control helps in reducing fuel consumption. Studies have shown that erratic speed variations can lead to higher fuel consumption, whereas maintaining a consistent speed optimizes fuel efficiency.

Safety Statistics : Research indicates that the use of cruise control can lead to a reduction in speed-related accidents. However, it’s crucial to note that over-reliance on cruise control in inappropriate conditions (like city driving or in heavy traffic) can negate these safety benefits.

Impact on Traffic Flow : When used widely, cruise control can contribute to smoother traffic flow on highways. Consistent speeds help in reducing the frequency of braking and acceleration among vehicles, leading to less congestion and smoother traffic movement.

It’s important to balance the use of cruise control with active driving engagement, ensuring that safety is always the top priority.

For a deeper understanding of cruise control and its various aspects, it’s always beneficial to refer to your vehicle’s manual and seek guidance from automotive professionals.

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  • Understanding Cruise Control
  • What is Cruise Control?
  • Types of Cruise Control
  • Operating Cruise Control
  • Safety Tips
  • Advanced Features
  • Troubleshooting Common Issues
  • Comparative Analysis of Modern Cruise Control Systems
  • Real-World Impact

Cruise Control In Cars Explained (And How To Safely Use It)

what's the cruise control button

Have you ever wished you could set your car's speed and just sit back and relax while driving on a long stretch of highway? If that's the case, then cruise control is just the ticket you've been searching for—and the good news is, it's a standard feature in most cars these days!

Cruise control is a handy feature for drivers that allows you to maintain a constant speed without having to keep your foot on the gas pedal. In this post, we'll explore how cruise control works, its benefits, and how to use it safely to make your driving experience more comfortable.

Understanding Cruise Control

Cruise control, also known as speed control, is an electronic system that allows you to maintain a specific speed without manually controlling the accelerator pedal. The system uses sensors and electronic components to control the throttle and keep your car moving at a desired speed. First introduced in the late 1950s, cruise control has since become a standard feature in most modern vehicles you see on the road today.

How Does It Work?

At its core, cruise control involves a series of sensors that monitor the vehicle's speed and a control unit that regulates the throttle. When the driver sets the cruise control to a specific speed, the system adjusts the throttle to maintain that speed. If the car begins to slow down because of an incline (e.g. going up a hill), the system will open the throttle to accelerate. Conversely, if the car starts to speed up due to a declin (e.g. going downhill), the system will close the throttle to decelerate.

Modern cruise control systems also come with additional features like adaptive cruise control (ACC), which uses radar or cameras to detect vehicles ahead and automatically adjusts the speed to maintain a safe following distance (more on this BELOW).

The History of Cruise Control

The invention of cruise control can be traced back to the late 1940s and early 1950s, when engineer Ralph Teetor developed the first-speed control system. This innovative feature was designed to help drivers maintain a steady speed, reduce fatigue while driving, and improve fuel efficiency. Over the years, cruise control technology has undergone significant advancements, leading to the development of sophisticated systems like adaptive cruise control.

Types of Cruise Control Systems

Today, drivers can choose from a range of cruise control systems, each with its own unique features and functionalities.

Conventional Cruise Control

Conventional cruise control is like your old reliable friend. It's pretty basic and doesn't have any fancy bells and whistles. You just set the speed you want, and it'll keep your car cruising along at that speed, no problem. It's perfect for those long drives on open highways, but it doesn’t automatically react to other cars on the road.

So, if the car in front of you slows down, you'll need to step in and adjust your speed manually. This trusty system comes standard on most cars and is great for saving some fuel on those long road trips .

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

Now, if conventional cruise control is your old reliable friend, then Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is like that friend's tech-savvy younger cousin. ACC isn't just maintaining your set speed, it's also keeping an eye on the car in front of you. If that car slows down, ACC slows your car down to keep a safe distance .

It's like having an extra set of eyes on the road, making highway driving a breeze. Plus, some ACC systems can even handle stop-and-go traffic, bringing your car to a full stop and then picking up speed again when traffic gets moving.

Predictive Cruise Control

Predictive Cruise Control is like the fortune teller of cruise control systems. It uses GPS and map data to see into the future and predict what's coming up on the road, like hills or curves, and adjusts your speed accordingly. This means you get a smoother ride and better fuel efficiency, but it all depends on the quality of the GPS and map data. If that's a bit out of date, your fortune-telling cruise control might not be so accurate. It's usually found in more high-end vehicles where top-notch fuel efficiency is a focus for the engineers.

Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC)

And then we have Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, or CACC. This is like the team player of cruise control systems. It allows cars to talk to each other, coordinating their speeds to maintain a safe distance. It's like having a well-coordinated team of cars all working together to make the traffic flow smoother and reduce congestion. Picture it like a synchronized dance on the highway, where every car knows its place and keeps the right distance. This tech is still pretty new, but it's got a lot of potential. Imagine a future where traffic jams could be a thing of the past.

Remember, these systems are here to make your drive smoother and safer, but they're not a replacement for your attention. No matter how fancy your cruise control is, these systems can be greatly influenced by external conditions like weather and traffic, and they should always be used as aids, not replacements, for attentive driving.

Common Cruise Control Symbols and Indicators

Understanding the various symbols and indicators associated with cruise control is important for safe and effective usage. These symbols typically appear on the dashboard (or on the side of the steering wheel) and may include a speedometer icon, "SET," "RES" (resume), and "CANCEL". Be sure to consult your vehicle's owner's manual for specific details and explanations of these symbols.

Benefits of Using Cruise Control

Cruise control offers several benefits to drivers, especially during long road trips or highway driving.

Fuel Efficiency

One of the main advantages of using cruise control is improved fuel efficiency. By maintaining a constant speed, cruise control helps reduce fuel consumption, leading to better gas mileage. Rapid acceleration and deceleration, on the other hand, can lead to increased fuel consumption.

Comfort and Convenience

Cruise control allows drivers to take their foot off the accelerator pedal, reducing fatigue and improving comfort during long drives. It also helps drivers avoid unintentionally exceeding the speed limit by setting a maximum speed.

When used correctly, cruise control can contribute to safer driving. By maintaining a steady speed, it reduces the likelihood of erratic driving behavior and potential accidents. However, it is important to note that cruise control shouldn't be used in certain conditions, such as heavy traffic or slippery roads .

Troubleshooting Common Cruise Control Issues

Occasionally, you may encounter issues with your cruise control systems. Common problems include cruise control not engaging or disengaging unexpectedly. Possible causes may include a faulty brake light switch, malfunctioning sensors, or issues with the control module. If you experience any problems with your cruise control, it's best to have a qualified technician diagnose and repair the issue for you.

Cruise Control and Road Etiquette

Practicing proper road etiquette while using cruise control is essential for a safe and pleasant driving experience. Here are some tips on how to use cruise control courteously:

  • Avoid using cruise control in heavy or congested traffic, as it may hinder your ability to react quickly to changing conditions.
  • Be mindful of other drivers when setting your speed. Avoid setting a speed that's significantly slower or faster than the flow of traffic.
  • If you are in the passing lane and using cruise control, be sure to adjust your speed or temporarily disengage the system to allow faster-moving vehicles to pass.
  • Always signal your intentions, such as lane changes or exiting the highway, even when using cruise control.

The Future of Cruise Control Technology

Cruise control technology plays a vital role in the development of autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars . In autonomous vehicles, cruise control systems work together with other advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to enable the vehicle to operate without direct driver input. These systems include lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and collision avoidance systems.

As autonomous vehicles become more sophisticated, cruise control technology is evolving to support higher levels of automation. For example, some autonomous vehicles are equipped with advanced cruise control systems that can navigate complex traffic scenarios, merge onto highways, and even change lanes autonomously.

While fully autonomous vehicles are still in the developmental stages, the integration of cruise control technology is a big step toward creating safer and more efficient transportation systems.

As automotive tech continues to advance, cruise control systems are becoming more intelligent and capable. Here are some potential developments we can expect to see in the future of cruise control technology:

  • Integration of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve decision-making and responsiveness in adaptive cruise control systems.
  • Enhanced connectivity and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, enabling cars to share information about traffic conditions and coordinate their speeds for smoother traffic flow.
  • Greater customization and personalization options, allowing drivers to set preferences for cruise control behavior, such as following distance and speed adjustments.

Overall, the future of cruise control technology holds promise for creating a more seamless and enjoyable driving experience, with a focus on safety, comfort, and sustainability.

Debunking Myths About Cruise Control

Let's address and debunk some common misconceptions about cruise control:

Myth : Cruise control can be used as a substitute for driver attention.

Fact : Cruise control is a driver assistance feature, not a replacement for attentive driving. Drivers should always remain alert and ready to take control when necessary.

Myth : Cruise control increases the risk of accidents.

Fact : When used appropriately, cruise control can contribute to safer driving by maintaining a steady speed and reducing erratic driving behavior.

Cruise control is a valuable feature that can enhance your driving experience by providing comfort, convenience, and fuel efficiency. Remember to use it safely and appropriately based on driving conditions, and always stay attentive while on the road.

If you found this post informative and want to learn more about car features, driving tips, and automotive technology, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates. We're here to help you stay informed and enhance your driving experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cruise Control

To further enhance your understanding of cruise control, here are answers to some common questions:

Q : Can cruise control be used in all weather conditions?

A : It isn't advisable to use cruise control in adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or icy roads, as it may reduce your ability to respond quickly to changing road conditions.

Q : Can I use cruise control in urban areas with frequent stop-and-go traffic?

A : Cruise control is best suited for open roads and highways with consistent traffic flow. It isn't recommended for use in urban areas with frequent stops or heavy traffic.

Q : Does cruise control work at any speed?

A : Cruise control typically has a minimum speed threshold, below which it can't be engaged. This threshold varies by vehicle, so check your owner's manual for specific information.

About the Author: This article was crafted by the LOOP Marketing Team. Comprising of seasoned professionals with expertise in the insurance industry, our team is dedicated to providing readers with accurate, up-to-date, and valuable information. At LOOP, we're passionate about helping families navigate the world of car insurance, ensuring they get the best coverage at the most affordable rates. Learn more about our mission and values here.

For more insights on auto insurance and other related topics, visit our blog .

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What is Cruise Control and How Does it Function in a Car?

What is Cruise Control and How Does it Function in a Car?

A Quick Overview

Driving on long stretches of highway can be tiring, especially when trying to maintain a constant speed. Cruise control alleviates this by allowing drivers to set and maintain a desired speed without continuous use of the accelerator pedal. Understanding how cruise control functions can help drivers make the most of this convenient feature.

What is Cruise Control?

Cruise control is an automotive feature that enables drivers to set a desired speed for their vehicle. Once activated, the cruise control system maintains the set speed without the need for constant pedal input. It helps drivers maintain a steady pace on long trips, providing convenience and reducing the likelihood of unintentional speed fluctuations.

How Does Cruise Control Function?

Cruise control systems may vary slightly among different vehicle models, but they generally function using the following components and controls:

1. Set Button

To activate cruise control, the driver typically presses a “Set” button or engages a switch on the steering wheel or dashboard. This action captures the current speed of the vehicle and sets it as the target speed for the cruise control system to maintain.

2. Speed Control

Once the cruise control system is activated, the driver can adjust the speed using speed control buttons. These buttons allow the driver to increase or decrease the set speed in small increments. By pressing the appropriate button, the driver can fine-tune the desired speed for their comfort and road conditions.

3. Resume Button

The “Resume” button, also known as the “Accel” button, allows the driver to restore the previously set speed after it has been canceled or temporarily interrupted. When the driver presses the “Resume” button, the cruise control system accelerates the vehicle to the previously set speed.

4. Cancel Button

The “Cancel” button, often marked with the symbol “CRUISE” or “OFF,” deactivates the cruise control system. Pressing this button disengages the system and allows the driver to regain full control over acceleration and braking. It is important to note that the brake pedal can also automatically deactivate cruise control when pressed.

Advantages of Cruise Control

Cruise control offers several advantages to drivers:

  • Reduced Driver Fatigue: Cruise control allows drivers to maintain a steady speed without continuously pressing the accelerator pedal, reducing fatigue on long drives.
  • Improved Fuel Efficiency: By maintaining a consistent speed, cruise control can help optimize fuel efficiency by reducing unnecessary acceleration and deceleration.
  • Avoiding Speeding: Cruise control helps drivers adhere to speed limits by maintaining a set speed, preventing unintentional speeding due to variations in foot pressure on the accelerator pedal.

Limitations of Cruise Control

While cruise control provides convenience, there are limitations to consider:

  • Traffic and Safety: Cruise control should be used only in appropriate situations. It is important to remain vigilant and be ready to take control of the vehicle when necessary, such as in heavy traffic or hazardous road conditions.
  • Hilly Terrain: Cruise control may struggle to maintain a constant speed on hilly terrain, as it cannot anticipate changes in elevation. In such situations, the driver may need to manually intervene and adjust the speed accordingly.

👉 You may also like - A Deep Dive into the Adaptive Cruise Control System. What Is It?

What is cruise control?

Cruise control is a technology in cars that allows drivers to maintain a constant speed without keeping their foot on the accelerator. The feature is commonly used during long drives on highways or other open roads.

How does cruise control work?

When cruise control is activated, the driver sets a desired speed for the car to maintain. The car’s engine and transmission work together to maintain that speed without any input from the driver.

Is it safe to use cruise control while driving?

Yes, cruise control is generally safe to use while driving. However, drivers should remain attentive and ready to take control of the car at any moment. It’s also important to note that cruise control should not be used in hazardous weather or road conditions.

What are the benefits of using cruise control?

Using cruise control can improve fuel efficiency by helping drivers maintain a consistent speed and reduce unnecessary acceleration. It can also reduce driver fatigue during long drives by allowing them to rest their feet.

Can all cars have cruise control installed?

Not all cars come with cruise control as a standard feature, but many newer cars do have this option available. Additionally, aftermarket cruise control systems can be installed on most cars.

Can cruise control be dangerous?

Cruise control can become dangerous if the driver becomes too reliant on it and fails to remain attentive. Additionally, using cruise control in hazardous conditions, such as heavy traffic or inclement weather, can be dangerous.

Does cruise control work on manual transmission cars?

Cruise control can be installed on manual transmission cars, but it requires a more advanced system than the one used for automatic transmissions. Manual transmission cruise control systems are typically more expensive and less common.

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  • Drive your car until you reach the speed you want to maintain .
  • Select your car’s speed by pushing SET . 
  • Take your foot off the accelerator pedal.
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What is cruise control in a car? Meaning and how does it work?

Cruising on the highway can be a lot of fun. However, it demands maintaining a constant speed for a long time. To achieve that, you need to press the accelerator pedal continuously, which can get tiring after a while. That’s when the cruise control feature of your car comes into play. So, what exactly does it do and how does it work? This article explains cruise control in a car and how to use it in different driving conditions. So, without stepping on the ‘brake’ pedal, read on!

Cruise Control in a Car

What is cruise control in a car?

It is a system that accurately maintains the speed set by the driver without any external intervention. It automatically controls the speed of a car and only allows the vehicle to hit a speed set by the driver. It does not allow the car to cross that speed limit. This feature has become common among modern cars. You can even find this feature in the top-spec variants of some of the affordable hatchbacks and sedans.

How does the cruise control system work?

Cruise control in a car replicates the inputs of a driver to control the vehicle’s speed. But instead of pressing the accelerator pedal, it uses a different mechanism to maintain a constant cruising speed.

Initially, the system used a cable to control the accelerator (throttle valve). You can find these mechanisms in older cars. It adjusted the vehicle's speed by engaging the throttle with the help of an actuator that is controlled by a cable. The throttle valve is responsible for the power and speed generated by the engine. So, depending on the speed set by the driver, the system automatically adjusted the throttle position.

But with the advent of technology in the automotive industry, the cruise control system in modern cars entirely relies on electronics. Instead of a cable, the system now communicates with the throttle via various sensors connected to a computer (ECU - Electronic Control Unit). So, when you set a speed, the ECU calculates the throttle position and engages the throttle wirelessly.

The system constantly maintains the speed set by you (driver) irrespective of road conditions. For example, if there’s an incline ahead, cruise control adjusts the throttle accordingly to maintain the same speed.

How to use cruise control?

Before engaging the cruise control in a car, remember that the system is not intended to be used in adverse weather conditions. For example, you may refrain from driving the car at cruising speeds when it’s raining heavily. The low visibility and unpredictable road conditions make it unsafe to drive at such speeds. So, always be mindful of the weather condition and your surroundings before engaging the system.

Here are the steps to use cruise control.

Step 1 - Before activating cruise control, build up speed by accelerating the car. However, do not cross the speed limit of that particular road/highway.

Step 2 - Once your car reaches the desired speed, activate cruise control. Generally, the system activation button will be on the steering wheel. However, locating the exact button when the vehicle is parked is better to avoid any distractions while driving.

Step 3 - Next, you can take your foot off the accelerator pedal. If you have set the cruise control correctly, the car should maintain the cruising speed.

Step 4 - Keep your eyes on the road as it is very easy to get distracted when the car is accelerating automatically.

Step 5 - If you wish to accelerate when the cruise control is engaged, you can press the ‘+’ button on the steering wheel to briefly engage the accelerator pedal.

Step 6 - To decelerate, press the ‘-’ button on the steering wheel. You can also tap on the brake pedal. However, as a safety precaution, almost all cars will deactivate the cruise control as soon as you press the brake pedal.

The buttons to activate cruise control or accelerate/decelerate may vary from one car to another. So, do check the owner’s manual before fiddling around with the system. It’s better if you are familiar with the controls before driving the vehicle, as it will avoid unnecessary distractions.

How to install cruise control in a car?

Can you install cruise control in a car? The answer is both yes and no. You may install an aftermarket kit if it’s an old car that does not rely on electronics to control all the engine-related functions. But installing such a kit becomes almost impossible in modern cars due to the complex electronics.

It is a complex process to install the system in new cars as you have to fiddle with electronics, and it also requires the fitment of hardware. So, it can only be done during the time of car manufacturing. Moreover, if you try installing an aftermarket kit, you may void the warranty offered by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). On top of that, it is not recommended to go for an aftermarket cruise control kit as it may compromise safety.

Newly launched cars are equipped with cruise control except for a few entry-level models. So, instead of investing in retrofitting a system, it's better and safer to spend that money on buying a car with a built-in system.

Adaptive cruise control

The new technology also allows the system to automatically adjust the car's speed depending on the speed of the vehicle ahead. This feature is known as adaptive cruise control. It ensures that the car maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead despite the constant change in speed of the vehicle moving ahead. It is instrumental in highways or during rush hour traffic and reduces driver fatigue.

It is also a level 1 autonomous driving system. The system uses radar sensors to calculate the speed and distance of the car ahead. For instance, if the vehicle in front of you slows down/speeds up, a car with adaptive cruise control will reduce speed/accelerate automatically without any external inputs.

You can find this feature in premium cars. But gradually, it is trickling down to not so expensive cars as well. Adaptive cruise control is a part of an advanced driver assistance system.

Pros and cons of cruise control

Cruise control makes driving easy and convenient, and at the same time, it also takes care of safety. But like every other feature, it has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which are elaborated in the following section.

Below are some of the pros of the cruise control system.

Reduces driver fatigue: The primary role of cruise control is to maintain a constant speed without you having to step on the accelerator pedal. That means you can rest your right foot and can stay relaxed. It is helpful when you drive long distances on highways where you need to maintain a constant speed for long durations.

Improves fuel economy: When maintaining a constant speed, the engine will not get stressed as it need not change the intensity of operation. To put it in a simple way, when the engine runs at constant RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) , it consumes less fuel. Hence, when driving long distances on highways, the cruise control system can improve fuel economy.

Helps to drive within the speed limit: You may drive at normal speed on busy urban roads. But when you hit the wide and smooth highways, you may end up crossing the speed limit. You may not even realise that you have crossed the speed limit until you glance at the speedometer. Cruise control can help you in this regard as you can easily set a speed limit and let the system do the work. The system will not allow the car to go over the speed set by you.

Increase/decrease speed with a click of a button: Typically, you use the accelerator and brake pedal to increase/decrease the speed of your car. But when the cruise control is engaged, you can even use the buttons to do the job for you. However, ensure that you are familiar with the functions of the buttons, as it may feel unnatural in the beginning. It is best to practice using the buttons in a safe environment before using them on public roads.

Works well with automatic cars: Cruise control works best with automatic cars as you need not worry about changing gears. The ECU or the onboard computer shifts the gears automatically when there is a change in speed and works well when cruising automatically. It means you only need to focus on steering the vehicle.

As mentioned earlier, cruise control also has some cons, which are listed below.

Limited use on Indian roads: Cruise control is suited for wide and long highways where drivers follow the rules. Although India has some excellent highways, many drivers may disregard rules which creates an unpredictable environment. Also, cattle, dogs and other animals may venture into public roads and make the situation even more tricky. Hence, it may be challenging to cruise at high-speeds.

Hampers reaction time: As mentioned above, the roads in India are unpredictable. You may have to perform emergency braking to avoid any obstacles on the road. When driving with manual controls, your right foot will be on the accelerator pedal, and it is easy to move your foot to step on the brake pedal in an emergency. But, when using cruise control, your right foot will be resting on the floor of the car, and it may take a bit more time to reach the brake pedal. This difference in reaction time may be the difference between you avoiding an obstacle or crashing into it.

Can induce drowsiness: If you use cruise control for long durations, you may end up feeling drowsy. Since the car is accelerating at a constant speed, your alertness level may drop in the long run. Hence, it is recommended that you manually control the vehicle once every 10-15 minutes when using the automatic cruising feature on highways.

Cannot use at night: Cruise control is of no use during night drives as the visibility is poor. Even with well-lit roads, the visibility is not as good as daylight. So, allowing the car to maintain a constant speed may be a safety concern, even on roads that are familiar to you.

It does not work well with manual cars: In a manual car, you have to change gears by yourself. The cruise control will handle the acceleration/deceleration, but you still need to shift the gears manually to maintain the optimum RPM. It can be irritating at times when you need to slow down and accelerate immediately. It may not be a dealbreaker, but it kind of refrains you from experiencing the full potential of the automatic cruising system.

Cruise control vs adaptive cruise control: Key differences

The below table highlights the key differences between cruise control and adaptive cruise control.

What is the difference between cruise control and speed limiter?

Sometimes you may get confused between cruise control and speed limiter as both are related to the car's speed. Refer to the table below to understand the difference between both the systems.

List of cruise control cars In India

Cruise control is a feature that we can see in a lot of cars. Gone are the days when this feature was limited to premium vehicles. Even vehicles with affordable price tags are equipped with intelligent features. Here’s the list of popular cars with the automatic cruising system.

List of adaptive cruise control cars in India

Adaptive cruise control is the more advanced version of the standard automatic cruising system. Currently, this system can be seen only in premium cars in India. Below is the list of popular cars with adaptive cruise control.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions related to cruise control in cars.

No, it is not a standard feature in cars. However, almost all vehicles costing above Rs. 5 lakhs are equipped with cruise control.

It is not advisable to install an aftermarket cruise control kit in your car as new vehicles have complex electronics. Moreover, installing such a kit involves a complicated process, and it may also void the warranty provided by the car manufacturer.

Typically, the cruise control button is located on the steering wheel for easy access. However, the location of the button may vary depending on the make and model.

Yes, you can use cruise control in a manual car. However, you need to manually control the gear shifts when the vehicle slows down or accelerates when the system is engaged.

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What is cruise control and should you have it on your next car?

Cruise control can take the strain out of long drives and save you from a speeding fine – here's how it works, when to use it and what adaptive cruise control systems do....

cruise control guide

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Modern cruise control is an electronic system that controls the speed your car travels at. Once you’ve set it, the car will carry on driving at the speed selected without you needing to have your foot on the accelerator pedal.

It’s a useful aid for when you’re driving on motorways or A-roads that stops the car’s speed from creeping upwards unintentionally and ensures you don’t break any speed limits . It’s also good for easing foot fatigue and strain on long drives. 

What is adaptive cruise control? 

More complex adaptive cruise control (ACC) systems alter the speed the car is travelling at to keep it a set distance from the vehicle in front, and some systems can keep control of the driving in stop-start traffic jams.

The most advanced cruise control systems also work with a car’s advanced driver assistance features to ensure the car stays in its lane, in the right place on the road when cornering and reacts to avoid potential collisions with other vehicles and road users. 

Some systems work with the car's speed-limit recognition technology and are able to automatically adjust the vehicle's speed accordingly.

cruise control guide

How does cruise control work in a car? 

Older cruise control systems controlled a vehicle's speed with a cable, but the latest versions use electronic sensors, speed detectors (such as radar) and a control module to ensure the car maintains a constant speed from the vehicle in front. They allow the driver to set their desired speed and stick to that even if the car goes up or down a steep incline.  

Buttons to set and cancel the cruise control are often sited on the car’s steering wheel, but they can also be located on a stalk control, either as a dedicated unit or integrated into the indicator stalk. To activate the cruise control you should accelerate to the speed you want your car to travel at, and then press the set button. Many systems let the driver adjust the distance between their car and the one in front. 

cruise control guide

There are also buttons that allow you to increase or decrease the set speed by increments of 1mph without touching the accelerator or resetting the system. Often you can vary the speed in 5mph increments by pressing these buttons for longer.

Cruise control can be overridden by the driver by tapping the brake pedal, and you can still accelerate in the normal way. Some systems will continue to work afterwards if you’ve intervened briefly to make a manoeuvre such as avoiding a pothole. 

Some cruise control systems also have short-cut controls to reactivate cruising at the previous speed with a single pull of a lever or tap of a button. 

When should you use cruise control? 

Cruise control is best suited to long-distance motorway or A-road driving when you’ll be driving for miles without any speed limit changes and with minimal steering input. Most systems only work at speeds above 25mph, so you’re unlikely to be able to use it on busy, urban roads where the average speed is low and you’ll be doing a lot of stop-start driving. 

When shouldn’t you use cruise control? 

Standard cruise control isn’t good for roads with lots of bends or stop-start traffic because you may have to deactivate the system frequently while negotiating these.

However, some of the most sophisticated adaptive cruise control systems are able to bring a car to a halt in its lane on a motorway if there is a brief traffic jam and then pull away again as the other vehicles start to move.

These systems use radar to monitor the speed of other vehicles and this means they can be better than the driver at anticipating hold-ups and slowing the car down in good time. Other systems use the car's own sat-nav to read the road ahead.

renault zoe snow

It’s not recommended to use cruise control in very bad weather, such as torrential rain, hail, fog or snow because these conditions can reduce the ability of the sensors to properly detect other traffic.  

We also wouldn’t advise using cruise control if you’re feeling tired because, with less to do behind the wheel, there’s more danger that you could fall asleep. 

Can you brake while using cruise control? 

If your car has adaptive cruise control it will automatically apply the brakes and accelerator to keep the car a set distance from the vehicle in front.

However, if you need to brake manually to avoid an obstacle or other unexpected danger while the cruise control is on, you should do so. On most systems, this will deactivate the system, and you will have to reactivate it, although some will restart automatically after you’ve intervened. If you only want to decrease the speed by a small amount, the easiest way to do this is to use the minus button on the cruise control system. 

cruise control guide

How can I tell if my car has cruise control? 

The best way to check if your car is fitted with cruise control, and if so what type and how to use it, is to check your owner’s manual. However, if the car has buttons on the steering wheel that say ‘cruise’, ‘cancel’, ‘res’ and ‘set’ these will be the cruise control switches. 

Is cruise control expensive? 

Many new cars come with cruise control as standard equipment, so if it’s a feature you’d like, check the spec of any potential purchase up front.

If you have an older car, or a model that doesn’t have it fitted, you can have it retro-fitted by a specialist at a cost of around £300 to £500. 

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How J.D. Power's top Initial Quality picks fare 3 years later

Motor mouth: canada aims to install surtax on chinese evs, collector classics: 1957 studebaker silver hawk, canada's 10 hottest auto brands, vehicles at the start of 2024, the rotary-powered cosmo is mazda's breakthrough album, what is cruise control a comprehensive guide.

When the system is set, cruise control will maintain a steady speed for your vehicle

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Your vehicle’s cruise control system unlocks numerous benefits at the touch of a button — but according to web search data, drivers still have plenty of questions about what it is, what it does, and how it works.

Don't navigate the car buying road alone!

Join our thriving community on social media and connect with other car searchers and enthusiasts.

What is Cruise Control? A Comprehensive Guide Back to video

Below, we’ll answer some of the most popular Internet search questions about cruise control, so you can make the best use of this important system.

What is Cruise Control?

With cruise control, your vehicle will maintain a steady speed when the system is set.

What is adaptive cruise control?

With adaptive cruise control, the vehicle will also automatically slow down and speed up to maintain a safe position in traffic.

How does cruise control work?

Cruise control work with a manual transmission just the same way it does with an automatic.  Drivers set their cruising speed with a button press, and the system works the throttle automatically to maintain the desired cruising speed as evenly as possible. In some vehicles with a manual transmission, pressing the clutch pedal to shift gears turns the cruise control off, requiring an additional button press to reengage it after a gear change.

In other cars with a manual transmission, pressing the clutch pedal simply pauses the cruise control system a moment, allowing drivers to complete their gearshift. When they’ve released the clutch, the cruise control picks up where it left off — no additional button press required.

Is cruise control more fuel efficient?

Yes.  Increasing your vehicle’s speed uses fuel. While cruising, even a highly competent driver who isn’t using cruise control will tend to slow down and speed up in a repeated cycle, possibly several times per minute. Though fluctuations in speed may be slight, they do cause your engine to use more fuel than required. Point is, the more time you spend at a steady speed, the less fuel your engine needs.

For most drivers, using cruise control on the highway at 80 km/h can reduce fuel consumption by about 20 per cent. For drivers who find difficulty in maintaining a steady speed and frequently experience big fluctuations, using cruise control can cut fuel use by over 40 per cent.

Depending on what you drive and how fast you drive it, using cruise control could save you between $4 and $20 per hour — based on information from Natural Resources Canada that shows most drivers who don’t use cruise control on the highway will tend to experience a 10 km/h speed fluctuation about three times per minute.

Drivers who have the most difficulty managing their cruising speed could be using 60 per cent more fuel than they need to.

Is cruise control bad for your transmission?

No.  Your vehicle’s engine, transmission and other components are designed to work hand-in-hand with its cruise control system and are extensively tested and integrated with one another for trouble-free performance.

Using cruise control also reduces wear and tear on both your engine and transmission by running things more smoothly and steadily, and reducing workload on both components.

Can you add cruise control to a car?

Yes.  Depending on the year, make and model, cruise control may be available for add-on or retrofit. Professional installation is recommended, and you’ll want to talk to a professional about the specific availability of parts and integration for your vehicle.

In many cases with modern cars, it’s generally easier and more cost effective to just opt for a unit equipped with cruise control from the factory. Cruise control is widely available as standard equipment on most modern vehicles.

Can cruise control get stuck?

Yes , but it’s extremely rare. Older cable-based cruise control systems seem more prone to this rare problem, in which the cable can slip or bind, making the throttle stick into position. More modern vehicles with electronic throttle and monitoring systems make this problem even less likely.

If the cruise control on your car fails to disengage when you want to slow down, slip the vehicle into neutral to disconnect drive power from the wheels, pull over, and address the situation.

However, chances are, you’ll never experience this problem.

When should cruise control be used?

Any time you’re trying to drive at a constant speed.  Whether around town at 60 km/h, in a residential area at 40 km/h, or out on the highway at 105 km/h, switching the cruise control on makes for a smoother and more fuel efficient drive that’s easier on your engine and transmission. it can also help you do your part to maintain the steady and efficient flow of traffic.

Most cruise control systems can be engaged at speeds above 30 km/h.

When should cruise control not be used?

Any time you can’t safely drive at a steady speed.  If the road surface is snowy, icy, slushy or very wet, you’ll want to think twice about switching your cruise control on.

In older cars, having your cruise control engaged on a wet or icy road could allow the vehicle to accelerate or experience wheelspin when driven wheels encounter a low-traction surface. Here, the cruise control system maintains throttle pressure, even in situations where it should be released instead. This could lead to a loss of control.

In more modern vehicles, electronic monitoring is used to automatically disengage cruise control when one of the following happens:

  • one or more wheels slip
  • one or more wheels leave the surface of the road after a major bump or dip
  • the wipers are set to the maximum speed setting in heavy rain

Use your judgement. Safely navigating certain slippery or dangerous driving conditions requires careful manual control of your vehicle’s throttle, and in these situations, you’re best to leave the cruise control off.

What causes cruise control to kick off?

If the cruise control in your vehicle suddenly kicks off, a few things may be to blame.

Sometimes, cruise control disengages automatically when the vehicle’s automatic wipers detect heavy rainfall, or when a wheel spins or (briefly) leaves the surface of the road after a big bump or dip. In other situations, there may be a problem with one or more sensors or switches, including the brake pedal switch, throttle position sensor, or one or more wheel speed sensors.

Your modern cruise control system relies on various sensors and switches to do its job properly. As a failsafe, any problem with these sensors can cause the cruise control system to go offline. If you notice this happening regularly, have your vehicle diagnosed by a professional.

Will the cruise control work with an ABS light on?

Probably not.  Your car’s Antilock Braking System works hand-in-hand with your cruise control system, and any fault with the ABS system will typically take your cruise control offline until it’s fixed.

An ABS warning light in your instrument cluster can indicate one of several major problems or malfunctions, so be sure to have a professional investigate as quickly as possible.

Will cruise control apply the brakes?

No, but adaptive cruise control will.  Standard cruise control (simply called cruise control) holds your vehicle’s speed as constant as possible once set. More advanced adaptive cruise control systems use camera or radar-based sensing to determine the traffic situation in front of your vehicle, and can automatically apply the brakes to maintain a pre-set following distance.

With cruise control, drivers need to brake to slow down as they close in on a slower vehicle in traffic. With adaptive cruise control, the system makes these braking inputs automatically, and the vehicle speeds back up to its pre-set cruising speed once traffic clears.

Before you buy, be sure to determine which type of cruise control system is fitted to the car you’re considering.

What is Super Cruise?

Super Cruise is a next-level driver assistance feature available on certain GM vehicles.

With Super Cruise, the vehicle uses special GPS hardware and sensors to accurately compare its position to a 3D map of pre-qualified highways .

On these pre-qualified highways, Super Cruise allows drivers to go hands-free for extended periods as the vehicle automatically maintains its cruising speed, adjusts that speed for changing traffic conditions, and even precisely follows the curves in the road. It can even make hands-free lane changes.

Super Cruise is not an autonomous system, and in order for it to work, drivers need to keep their eyes on the road — there’s even a camera that monitors the position of the driver’s eyes to make sure they’re focused on the road ahead.

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Justin Pritchard

Justin Pritchard is an experienced motoring expert whose work is read and watched by Canadians across the country on a weekly basis. Starting his career at Auto123.com back in 2005 (while finishing his final year of studies at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario), Justin quickly applied his passion for writing, presenting, and photography, working under some of the most recognized editors in the Canadian motoring scene.

Justin has written one of the largest collections of used car buyer guides on the internet, and his TV program, AutoPilot, has aired over 600 episodes across 16 seasons. Presently, AutoPilot is the only English-language motoring program on Canadian cable TV, though he's lent his informative style and easy-to-identify voice to video features for Youtube, Driving.ca, Autotrader.ca, Motoring TV, and elsewhere. With 4 years as co-chair of the Canadian Car of the Year Awards (CCOTY) program, a passion for vehicle testing shines though in all of his work.

A passion for photography from a young age makes Justin as comfortable behind the camera as in front of it, and capturing motoring memories from the scenery of beautiful Northern Ontario is a priority in much of his work. The particularly harsh winter climate in this part of Canada makes Justin a particular expert on winter driving, winter tires, and extreme-weather safety.

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Democrats are talking about replacing Joe Biden. That wouldn't be so easy.

President Joe Biden's performance in the first debate Thursday has sparked a new round of criticism from Democrats , as well as public and private musing about whether he should remain at the top of the ticket.

In the modern era, a national party has never tried to adversarially replace its nominee, in part, because knows it would most likely fail. The issue came before both parties in 2016, but neither took action.

Party rules make it almost impossible to replace nominees without their consent, let alone smoothly replace them with someone else. And doing so would amount to party insiders’ overturning the results of primaries when Democratic voters overwhelmingly to nominate Biden. He won almost 99% of all delegates.

And at the moment, there’s no known, serious effort to push him off the top of the ticket.

Still, the Democratic National Committee's charter does make some provisions in case the party’s nominee is incapacitated or opts to step aside, and an anti-Biden coup at the convention is theoretically possible, if highly unlikely. So how would it work?

What happens if Biden drops out before the convention?

The only plausible scenario for Democrats to get a new nominee would be for Biden to decide to withdraw, which he has sworn off repeatedly during other bumpy stretches of his campaign.  

He could do so while serving out the rest of his term in the White House, as Lyndon Johnson did in 1968. 

If Biden were to drop out before he is scheduled to be formally nominated in August, it would create a free-for-all among Democrats, because there’s no mechanism for him or anyone else to anoint a chosen successor.

It takes a majority of the roughly 4,000 pledged delegates to win the party’s nomination. Biden’s won 3,900 of them. Under recent reforms, the party’s more than 700 superdelegates — Democratic lawmakers and dignitaries — are allowed to vote only if no one wins a majority of pledged delegates on the first ballot, so their votes could be crucial in a contested convention. 

Because Biden's opponents all won effectively no delegates throughout the Democratic nominating process, there'd be a virtual clean slate heading into the convention, and the decision would most likely come down to the convention delegates who were initially pledged to Biden.

Biden would have some influence over his pledged delegates, but ultimately, they can vote as they please, so candidates would most likely campaign aggressively to win over each individual delegate.

However, there's a potentially important wrinkle: Democrats plan to formally nominate Biden virtually ahead of the late-August convention to sidestep any potential concerns about ballo t access in Ohio, where a technical quirk has complicated things

Democrats decided to plan a virtual nomination for Biden after Ohio Republicans balked at passing pro forma legislation that would allow Biden to be on the ballot, even though the convention falls after a state deadline. But while Republicans passed a law to shift the deadline, Democrats decided to move forward with a virtual nomination nonetheless.

Could Democrats replace Biden against his will?

There’s no evidence the party would entertain a change without Biden’s consent. But even if it did, there’s no mechanism for it to replace a candidate before the convention, and certainly no way for it to anoint a chosen successor.

If large swaths of the Democratic Party lost faith in Biden, delegates to the national convention could theoretically defect en masse. Of course, they were chosen to be delegates because of their loyalty to Biden and have pledged to support him at the convention.

But, unlike many Republican delegates, Democratic delegates aren’t technically bound to their candidate. DNC rules allow delegates to “in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them,” providing some wiggle room.

The party’s charter does include provisions to replace the nominee in the event of a vacancy. The measure is intended to be used in case of death, resignation or incapacitation, not to replace someone who has no desire to step down.

That was the measure that Donna Brazile, then the interim DNC chair, considered invoking after Hillary Clinton collapsed two months before the 2016 election, she wrote in her memoir .

In her memoir, released a year later, Brazile wrote that she was worried “not just about Hillary’s health but about her anemic campaign ... so lacking in the spirit of fight.” 

“Perhaps changing the candidate was a chance to win this thing, to change the playing field in a way that would send Donald Trump scrambling and unable to catch up,” she wrote, adding that aides to other would-be candidates contacted her, including then-Vice President Biden’s chief of staff.

But after less than 24 hours of consideration, Brazile realized the idea was untenable without Clinton’s cooperation and likely to only divide her party further. “I could not make good on my threat to replace her," she wrote.

Current DNC Chair Jaime Harrison is a longtime Biden ally who serves, essentially, at the pleasure of the president. And the national party has certainly given no indication it’s anything but fully behind his re-election.  

What happens if Biden withdraws after the convention?

To fill a vacancy on the national ticket, the chair can call a “special meeting” of the full DNC, which includes about 500 members. On paper, at least, all it takes is a majority vote of those present to pick new presidential and vice presidential nominees. But that process would most likely be anything but smooth and be filled with behind-the-scenes jockeying and public pressure campaigns. 

If a vacancy were to occur close to the November election, however, it could raise constitutional, legal and practical concerns. Among other issues, ballots have to be printed well in advance of the election, and it might not be possible to change them in time.

Would Kamala Harris replace Biden?

If Biden were to relinquish the presidency, Vice President Kamala Harris would automatically become president — but not the Democratic Party’s nominee. Nor would she necessarily be the nominee if Biden withdrew from his re-election bid while he remained in the White House.

She might be politically favored, but party rules give the vice president no major mechanical benefit over other candidates. 

Biden’s delegates wouldn’t automatically transfer to Harris, and the convention holds separate votes on nominees for president and vice president. So she would still need to win a majority of delegates at the convention. 

If the top of the ticket were vacated after the convention, she would still need to win a majority of votes at the special meeting of the DNC.

That is all, at least, under current party rules. But a vacancy at the top of the ticket is the kind of dramatic moment that might lead party leaders to revisit them in the name of easing the transition. Harris has some close allies in key places at the DNC, including a co-chair of the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee. But nothing would be likely to happen without a fight.

what's the cruise control button

Ben Kamisar is a national political reporter for NBC News.

what's the cruise control button

Alex Seitz-Wald is a senior politics reporter for NBC News.


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    Cruise control was originally only found on high-end luxury cars, but now even the smallest cars often have it fitted as standard. If you have never used cru...

  15. 5 Essential Things to Know About Your Car's Cruise Control

    Locate the cruise control button on your vehicle; most cars have it on the steering wheel. Once you are at the desired speed, hold your foot on the gas pedal. Set the cruise control by pushing the cruise on/off button, then take your foot off of the gas. If you maintain the same speed, your cruise control has been activated.

  16. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Cruise Control Switch

    Cruise control light doesn't illuminate. One of most common symptoms of a problem with the cruise control switch is a cruise control light that will not illuminate. The light should be illuminated as soon as the cruise control system is switched on to notify the driver that the system is activated. If the light does not come on, that may be ...

  17. What is Cruise Control in a Car? Meaning and How it Works?

    Cruise control in a car replicates the inputs of a driver to control the vehicle's speed. But instead of pressing the accelerator pedal, it uses a different mechanism to maintain a constant cruising speed. Initially, the system used a cable to control the accelerator (throttle valve). You can find these mechanisms in older cars.

  18. How to Use Adaptive Cruise Control

    1. To turn the feature on, press the cruise control On/Off button on the steering wheel. Your vehicle will default to the type of cruise control you last used when you turned your vehicle off. When the system is turned on, you'll see a white Adaptive Cruise Control icon in your cluster display or on your Head-Up Display, if your vehicle has ...

  19. Cruise control

    Cruise control (also known as speed control, cruise command, autocruise, or tempomat) is a system that automatically controls the speed of an automobile. The system is a servomechanism that takes over the car's throttle to maintain a steady speed set by the driver.

  20. What is cruise control and should you have it on your next car?

    reviews. Modern cruise control is an electronic system that controls the speed your car travels at. Once you've set it, the car will carry on driving at the speed selected without you needing to ...

  21. What is Cruise Control? A Comprehensive Guide

    With cruise control, drivers need to brake to slow down as they close in on a slower vehicle in traffic. With adaptive cruise control, the system makes these braking inputs automatically, and the ...

  22. Cruise Control

    This is like a more advanced version of cruise control which users lasers, sensors or radar at the front of the car to detect other cars. These can tell how far away the car in front is. ACC will match the speed of the car in front of you (as long as it's within the speed you've set). It'll maintain a safe distance behind the car in front.

  23. Democrats are talking about replacing Joe Biden. That wouldn't be so easy

    President Joe Biden's performance in the first debate Thursday has sparked a new round of criticism from Democrats, as well as public and private musing about whether he should remain at the top ...