Cruise control for short distance driving.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

A dumb question from a not-so-dumb person! Am I doing any harm to my cruise-
control system by using cruise control for short distances of less than a mile in
city driving? -- Adell

TOM: This isn't really a mechanical issue, Adell. It's a safety issue.

RAY: I agree. You won't do any harm to the car or the cruise control by using it
in city driving. The cruise control couldn't care less.

TOM: The question is whether you can drive safely while you do so. The cruise
control was really designed for highways and sparsely trafficked open roads,
where you presumably would be going the same speed for a long period of time
without the fear of bumping into anybody else.

RAY: In the city, it's much more likely that you're going to have to change
speeds suddenly because of traffic, pedestrians, red lights or errant hot-dog
vendors. And while it's true that you can turn off the cruise control by simply
stepping on the brake, that leaves an extra second or two during which the car is
not decelerating (which it would be under normal conditions if you simply took
your foot off the gas). And that extra second could make a difference in a
congested area.

TOM: So I'd strongly urge you not to use the cruise control in the city, Adell.
Besides, think of all that extra toe exercise you could be getting.

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