Driving with Cruise Control On Wet Pavement

Turn off cruise control to avoid hydroplaning and a possible accident when driving on wet pavement.

Additional information:

Wet-road driving is full of dangers that are not always apparent. Roads constantly accumulate oily substances and this residue settles deep into the pavement. Rain brings the residue back to the surface, making roads especially slippery during that first hour of downpour or even misting. Under these wet conditions drivers are likely to experience reduced control, and are cautioned to be extra careful for the first half-hour after it begins to rain. Just a thin layer of water lying on pavement can send an unsuspecting car hydroplaning into another lane or even off the roadway.

What is hydroplaning? In rain, a layer of water builds up beneath your tires. As you drive at higher speeds, the car begins sliding on this layer and can cause you to loose all physical contact with the ground. The car's wheels skim along the water's surface instead of making contact with the road. This is called hydroplaning, and greatly reduces control, allowing even slight gusts of wind to cause your car to skid. Thus it is highly advisable to avoid high speeds during rains.

The only way to stop this wheel-spin and maintain control is to immediately reduce power. However, an activated cruise control system will continue to apply power, keeping the wheels spinning. By the time you disengage the cruise control, you may have lost control.

If your car hydroplanes:

  • 1 completely stop acceleration
    2 keep the steering steady
    3 avoid braking till your speed is reduced and the tires grip the roads again.
  • How to avoid hydroplaning:

  • 1 Don't drive with bald or badly worn tires.
    2 Ensure your tires are properly inflated.
    3 Check tire pressure and slow down when rainfall is heavy or storm water – is standing on the road.
  • Don't use cruise control on wet roads

    Winter driving with ice, snow and sleet can also cause hydroplaning. Cruise control should also be avoided during these wet and slick conditions for your safety.
    http://www.metallurgist.com/Cruisecontrol_article.htm Dr. Craig Jerner

    From the October Newsletter A former attorney client and newsletter reader, Joel Johnson from Fort Smith, Arkansas writes:
    "Craig, I have experienced hydroplaning with my cruise control on. I did several spins, left the interstate and went into a grove of trees. I escaped unharmed but did $15,000 damage to my car. Now when it is raining, I go no faster than 60 mph and turn off the cruise control…Sure would be glad for you to mention my experience with hydroplaning. I want everyone to know how quickly this can happen. The next person may not be as lucky as I was!"