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Using cruise control in wet weather

Car cruise control

Know the seasons and road conditions.

Driving in wet conditions in the NT can be extremely hazardous, with some storms making it unsafe to drive at all. When the road is wet, excess water affects the tyres’ ability to grip the road, increasing the risk of skidding or slipping.

Grooves in tyres are there to maximise grip in adverse conditions, but at higher speeds – particularly if the tyre is worn down – this may not work as well. In the worst-case scenario, it could result in what is known as aquaplaning. If cruise control is activated when something like this happens, corrective actions by the driver can be much more difficult to judge, with reaction times being slower, making the situation tougher to rectify. Note: cruise control alone does not cause aquaplaning.

Challenging driving situations require the full attention of a driver even when it’s dry, so applying cruise control during poor weather conditions is certainly riskier and not preferable. In fact, it’s not a good idea to have cruise control on any time a higher level of driving attention is required. Cruise control should also be avoided on roads with twisty, sharp bends, and any roads you’re unfamiliar with.

To better understand safe operation of its cruise control, you should refer to your vehicle manual. Many owner's manuals suggest cruise control should not be used in heavy traffic driving, city driving, and winding, undulating, slippery or unsealed roads.

Common sense is key. Cruise control should only be used when conditions allow for a consistent speed in a safe environment.

Do you have a burning question related to cars or motoring? Call AANT’s member-only technical motoring advice on 1300 661 466.