Use of cruise control can lengthen reaction time
A new study shows some potential hazards of cruise control if it is not used with proper caution. The study from the University of Strasbourg, Alsace, France, found that reaction time, especially in emergencies, is substantially reduced with the use of cruise control. For example, when traffic slows or the driver approaches an accident, reaction time is lengthened by a full second, causing a driver going 70 mph to travel another 100 feet before braking.
Drivers using cruise control also remain in the passing lane for longer and move back into the slow lane less often. Safe distances from the passed car are reduced by an average 5 percent before the driver moves back to the slow lane and by 10 percent when moving back. And the drivers are less vigilant: They correct the direction of travel less often when using cruise control, so the car doesnt drive as straight. The longer the trip, the more that is the case.
Because drivers pay less attention when using cruise control, episodes of drowsiness are much more frequent. The test showed a more pronounced reduction in attention after 30 minutes of driving especially in young drivers, who are more sensitive to fatigue.Download Bulletin PDF