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Cruise Control and Winter Weather Driving

By Jason Bottlinger on January 9, 2024

Never use cruise control on roads that may be slippery due to rainy, icy, or snowy conditions. Cruise control is a helpful technology that makes driving easier, but it should only be used in certain situations. Cruise control is most beneficial when you are traveling along mainly straight stretches of road where traffic is light, and there are many situations where you will want to avoid using it altogether.

When Is It Safe to Use Cruise Control?

Cruise control allows you to maintain a constant speed without using the accelerator. After you set the selected speed, you can remove your foot from the gas pedal. Many drivers enjoy using cruise control because it relieves the fatigue on your foot and ankle, especially when you’re traveling for long distances. Cruise control can improve your mileage, and it also helps prevent drivers from accidentally exceeding the speed limit.

Even under optimum driving conditions, there are risks to consider when using cruise control. People become less attentive when cruise control is activated, and the driver may not be fully prepared to respond when there’s a sudden hazard in the road, such as a truck that merges into your lane or a driver who loses control of their vehicle due to a blown-out tire. No matter what time of year, you always want to remain alert while driving.

Cruise control is only recommended under the following circumstances:

  • When the road is dry
  • When there is no possibility of ice or black ice on the road
  • When it isn’t raining, snowing, or hailing
  • When there won’t be any sudden turns
  • When there’s good visibility
  • When traffic is flowing smoothly
  • When the roadway isn’t crowded

When a Car Using Cruise Control Hits a Slippery Spot

If you check the manual, you’ll discover that it’s not recommended to use cruise control when driving on slippery surfaces. This is even true for newer cars equipped with adaptive cruise control that’s designed to help you maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles.

The problem with cruise control is that your wheels will continue to spin when your vehicle encounters a slippery surface, such as wet or icy roads. When your foot is on the gas pedal, you’ll notice right away if the wheels lose traction, and this makes it a lot easier to avoid skidding.

Black ice is a clear coating of invisible frozen glaze on the surface of the road. Black ice may form on any part of the road when temperatures dip below freezing, and it can remain there for a long time, even when it’s sunny outside. It is often found on tunnels, bridges, and overpasses.

Drivers Who Misuse Cruise Control May Be Held Liable

It’s no secret that Nebraska has harsh winter weather. In fact, the state averages between 20 and 40 inches of snowfall per year, and we frequently experience long winter storms with blizzard conditions that include bitter cold, intense winds, and blinding snow. Depending on the region, Nebraska averages between 17 and 34 inches of rain annually.

Everyone has a duty of care to avoid behavior that may cause reasonably foreseeable harm to others. When driving in harsh winter weather, you are required to maintain a safe speed no matter what the posted speed limit says. Nebraska law states that “No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions” in recognition of “actual and potential hazards” that exist.

If you were injured by a negligent driver who activated cruise control when the road was slippery, you have the right to seek compensation. Your Omaha car accident attorney will file a claim or a lawsuit to help you recover the cost of your medical bills and other expenses, such as lost wages and occupational therapy.

Were You Injured by a Careless Driver in Omaha?

At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we’ve been helping accident victims in Nebraska, Iowa, and Texas for over 15 years. Jason Bottlinger is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and he was named a Top 100 Lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers. He received a perfect 10.0 score from Avvo, and our firm has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Call us at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation today.

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