Cruise Control which is sometimes called speed control is a feature that allows the vehicle to remain at
a pre-set speed without any further intervention from the driver.
Cruise control takes control of the throttle and/or the flow of air and fuel to the engine and this
allows the vehicle to cruise along at a desired speed without the use of the accelerator pedal. It may also monitor
wheel speed and other sensors to determine the correct throttle position.
The system controls the flow of the air and fuel in one of two ways:
You can activate and operate cruise control by using controls that are easily in your reach. These controls
may be on the steering, on one of the stalks for the lights or wipers or on its own stalk close to the steering.
- A vacuum driven mechanism is used to pull the throttle cable to the desired position and control the flow.
- If the engine operates via a drive by wire system it will use the
engine management system to control the flow.
The buttons or stalk usually may have some or all of the following controls:
You can cancel the speed you set while cruising by applying the brakes and control
the vehicle yourself but cruise control will remain on and hitting the resume button will allow you to return to the speed you set
unless you turned it off.
- On/Off - this is used to simply alert the system that a speed may be chosen soon and to completely exit the system
when you no longer need it.
- Set - this is used to choose a speed at which to cruise at. You would have to accelerate to a desired speed and press
the set button to maintain that speed.
- Resume - this is used to start cruising at the previously used speed once the cruise control wasn't turned off.
- Accelerate - this is used to increase the cruising speed by small increments at a time.
- Coast - this is used to decrease the cruising speed by small increments at a time.
The benefits of cruise control will be a reduction of driver fatigue on long journeys as you can now relax your right foot
for a part of the journey and it can assist drivers in keeping a speed under the speed limit especially if you have a tendency
to increase speed without noticing it.
It is also common for cruise control systems to adjust the speed of the engine to maintain a constant or close to
constant vehicle speed in conditions that could affect the speed for instance if the vehicle is going up or down a hill.
Cruise control has proven to be a very useful feature and has now become advanced with the introduction of
adaptive cruise control which is now also very common on luxury vehicles.