Snow has given way to thunderstorms, and summer is finally here. But just as soon as the rain starts falling, you get an email in your inbox that circulates every spring—someone was nearly killed using cruise control on a wet or flooded road. Concerned relatives call you up and warn you about using cruise control after heavy rain, and you listen halfheartedly, telling them they shouldn’t believe everything they hear.

However, in this case it happens to be true; cruise control can seriously affect the handling of your vehicle on wet pavement.

Why Shouldn’t I Use Cruise Control on Wet Roads?

While the circulating email story claims that using cruise control on a wet road caused a car to accelerate, it is likelier that the car sped up as it began hydroplaning, causing the car’s cruise control to maintain the sudden increase in speed. In addition, the usual method of disabling cruise control—tapping the brake—can cause a hydroplaning car to skid out of control, making it even more dangerous.

If it starts to rain while you are driving or there is standing water on the road, remember to:

  • Disable the cruise control – Don’t wait for the conditions to get worse. Drive manually from the start of bad weather.
  • Adjust your speed – It is always a good idea to slow down when visibility is compromised. Even if you can still see objects in the road, the driver ahead of you might not—and his sudden braking can cause your front-end collision.
  • Any water is dangerous – Early-morning dew and twilight fog can also settle on the roadway, mixing with oil and exhaust from passing cars. Assume that any moisture on the pavement is slippery and adjust your following distance; it’s better to be extra careful than regret not taking a simple precaution.

Now that you know the story has merit, feel free to share this article with your friends and family on Facebook to keep them safe, or leave a comment below to share more rain driving tips.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer
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