Ask a Trooper: Cruise control a useful tool, but not on icy roads
Questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota may be sent to Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow at 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56560. You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or email him at email@example.com
Question: I just moved to Minnesota and heard you talking about not using cruise control in the winter. Can you please write about this?
Answer: Using cruise control on slippery roads could send you on a winter cruise — straight into the ditch or oncoming traffic!
With dry road conditions, cruise control helps you safely monitor your speed, stay within the speed limit and improve driving comfort on long, fairly straight stretches of road. It should be used only when you are able to drive at a steady speed with safe road conditions.
On icy, snow-covered or wet roads, if your wheels lose traction, the cruise control will continue to accelerate, causing the vehicle to skid. By the time you realize you are skidding, it could be too late.
When deciding if you should set your cruise control:
- Ask yourself if it’s safe to travel the speed limit. If not, it isn’t safe to set your cruise.
- Is there limited visibility? If it’s foggy, snowing or raining and your range of visibility is significantly reduced, play it safe. Don’t set your cruise.
- Is traffic moving smoothly? If it’s stop-and-go, or there’s heavy traffic around you, it’s not safe to use cruise.
Remember that using your cruise control can be an advantage when driving long distances, but YOU are your vehicle’s best safety feature.
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.