Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Never Use Cruise Control While Driving in Rain

I received this in email and checked it out on Snopes.com for validity. According to Snopes (here's the link to the story), this is a true story and can happen. So, please, be careful and be safe!

A 36 year old female had an accident several weeks ago and totaled her car. A resident of Kilgore, Texas, she was traveling between Gladewater & Kilgore. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to hydroplane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence!

When she explained to the highway patrolman what had happened he told her something that every driver should know - NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE CONTROL ON. She had thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe consistent speed in the rain. But the highway patrolman told her that if the cruise control is on and your car begins to hydroplane -- when your tires lose contact with the pavement -- your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed and you take off like an airplane. She told the patrolman that was exactly what had occurred. The highway patrol estimated her car was actually traveling through the air at 10 to 15 miles per hour faster than the speed set on the cruise control. The patrolman said this warning should be listed, on the driver's seat sun-visor - NEVER USE THE CRUISE CONTROL WHEN THE PAVEMENT IS WET OR ICY, along with the airbag warning.

We tell our teenagers to set the cruise control and drive a safe speed - but we don't tell them to use the cruise control only when the pavement is dry. The only person the accident victim found, who knew this (besides the patrolman), was a man who had had a similar accident, totaled his car and sustained severe injuries.

Update: Cousin Buddy and I had an email conversation regarding the fact that apparently many people don't know about cruise control and wet and icy pavements even though it's taught in high school driver's ed classes. I had to admit that few, if any, vehicles had cruise control when I took driver's ed from Fred Flintstone. As Cousin Buddy is a few years older than me, he had to agree. He has the ability to learn things taught in driver's ed from his kids and grandkids, neither of which I have. A fact that alternately consternates and amuses me.
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2 comments:

Charlie on the PA Turnpike said...

If your car/truck has anti-skid (available only on upgraded ABS equipped vehicles), the problem described here wouldn't occur.

But I agree it is safer to keep as much as possible under the drivers control in inclement weather.

Deborah said...

Hi, Charlie! Thanks for coming back!

I don't know anything about anti-skid, but I do agree that it's best to be in as much control as possible when driving, especially in bad weather conditions.

Have a Merry Christmans and come back again!