For both commercial or owner operator truck drivers, cruise control is a great technology. It improves fuel economy which adds up to substantial savings when used consistently. When set below the speed limit, it keeps speeding violations off of your driving record. Doing this also helps you maintain a safe distance in front of your rig because most traffic tend to exceed the speed limit.
Cruise control also reduces driver fatigue because it makes driving easier and more comfortable. However, cruise control is also potentially dangerous in a number of situations and can cause loss of control of your rig. It has caused numerous truck accidents in the past.
Never Use Cruise Control in Slippery Conditions
When the road pavement is not dry, turn off the cruise control. In slippery conditions, acceleration at the wrong time or too much of it can cause a skid. Snow and ice require a light touch with the accelerator. Unlike a human driver, cruise control doesn’t modify its control inputs to take the surface conditions into account. Once in a skid, the commercial or owner operator truck driver can’t quickly react when the cruise control is on.
When transitioning from a dry surface to a slippery one, never use the brakes to turn off cruise control because the braking action can cause skidding. Instead, use the switch.
Never Use Cruise Control in Windy Conditions
You need to react quickly when countering sudden wind gusts that cause your trailer to lean or skid. Leaving the cruise control off adds to your reaction time. In addition, you want to be in a lower gear than normal so that you can quickly pull your trailer out of its skid or lean.
Turn off Cruise Control When You Are Feeling Fatigued
Although cruise control helps prevent fatigue, it makes things worse once you are fatigued. This is because reduced activity while in a fatigued state, makes the commercial or owner operator truck driver more prone to falling asleep or succumbing to highway hypnosis. Shifting gears and using the gas pedal keeps the mind more alert until the driver can find a rest stop. Another danger is that the fatigued driver may allow the cruise control to round a corner too quickly or plow into slower moving traffic.
Turn off Cruise Control in Heavy Traffic
Heavy traffic is often unpredictable and may require quick action on your part. Changing traffic conditions also require constant adjustments to maintain a safe following distance.
If you are looking for affordable commercial truck insurance in South Carolina, we at J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC are happy to answer any of your questions. For more information, please contact us.