What Is Cruise Control In a Car?
As anyone that has ever gone on a long road trip — or even someone that has a long commute to school or work every day — can tell you, driving can be exhausting. Sitting in the driver’s seat behind the wheel for hours on end is enough to tire anybody out physically and mentally. This is especially true if you’re constantly adjusting the force of your foot on the gas pedal manually to account for changes in the speed limit, encountering road hazards, and more. Not only do you have to adjust your speed for various reasons continually, but you may also find yourself mindlessly changing speed without even noticing.
Have you ever been on a road trip and looked down and saw yourself going 10, maybe 15 miles per hour over the speed limit? Or perhaps you’ve seen the opposite and looked down to see that you were going much slower than you should be. This happens to everyone throughout a road trip as your leg, mind, or both start to tire. Thankfully, cars these days typically come with cruise control to help mitigate these issues.
So what is cruise control?
The easiest way to understand what cruise control is to imagine that enabling it will keep your car at whatever speed it’s moving at when you turn on cruise control. And that’s precisely what it is doing. Cruise control is designed to maintain a consistent speed without requiring you to hit either the gas pedal or the brake pedal unless you need to start slowing down or coming to a stop.
The concept of cruise control is not a new one by any means, as early forms of the idea were used hundreds of years ago on steam engines to help maintain a steady speed as they traversed up and down inclines. Of course, adding it to cars happened much later, but the majority of vehicles seen on the road today — especially in America — will come factory-equipped with cruise control.
The ability to cause an automobile to maintain a constant speed may seem like magic or witchcraft, so let’s take a look at how cruise control works.