Using Cruise Control - courteously, safely and fuel efficiently

There are many ways of using cruise control and many reasons as well. Let me give you suggestions on how to use it and still be a safe and courteous driver, as well as a driver with an eye on fuel economy.

First, let's look at the reasons for using it. Then, let's look at it's limitations, and then how best to use it. Cruise control isn't for everyone, but it's a handy feature. I even have it on my touring motorcycle.

Vehicles driven over the open road can benefit from cruise control.

Here are the reasons that cruise control is your friend when on a trip of any length:

  • Reduces fatigue associated with keeping your foot on the gas.
  • Helps achieve steady speeds so your rate of travel is more predictable for other drivers.
  • Supports better fuel economy, especially on flat terrain.

Let's also keep in mind the limitations and drawbacks of using cruise control. In my mind, they are:

  • It doesn't apply the brakes for you (nor steer), so don't let yourself get lulled into thinking that it does anything except keep a steady speed by regulating the amount of gas applied to the engine.
  • Cruise control can't anticipate when we'll need to slow down or speed up, it can only react to it when the demand is clear. This can lead to wasting fuel, especially when climbing a hill.
  • We get used to using cruise control to the point where some of us don't consider using the gas pedal when we should - while passing a vehicle and before climbing a hill.
  • Our dependence on cruise control can cause us to keep it engaged, even when we should revert to manually controlling our rate of travel - during foul weather and in heavy traffic.

So, here are my suggestions for how cruise control should be used for greatest safety, fuel economy and courtesy to our fellow drivers.

  • Cruise control is best used on relatively flat sections of open road where speeds are about 45 miles per hour or faster, and there are no traffic lights, few intersections and few changes in speed limit.
  • When passing cars, apply the gas and get around them quickly. Don't crawl around them at slightly higher speeds just because you're using cruise control.
  • Apply the gas before approaching a hill to prevent your vehicle from dropping down into a lower gear so your cruise control can maintain the same rate of speed during the climb.
  • Practice turning cruise control on when you need it and off when you don't. Use the on/off switch instead of touching the brake pedal.
  • Anticipate changes in traffic conditions and speed reductions so you can switch off your cruise control and begin controlling your speed manually. Otherwise, cruise control will rush you headlong into the need to slam on the brakes.

Cruise control is a wonderful convenience, but just don't loose sight of the fact that you are ultimately responsible for controlling your vehicle.

Done with Using Cruise Control, back to Safe Driving

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.