Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) January 04, 2010 -- Wet conditions and cruise control can cause devastating accidents.
A 36-year-old woman was travelling between Wollongong & Sydney, in wet conditions and became involved in an accident that wiped out her car. Her car suddenly began to hydroplane and literally flew through the air. She was not badly injured, but very stunned by what had happened. The wet conditions were not excessive.
When the woman attempted to explain to a policeman what had happened, he told her something that every driver should know. It is dangerous to drive in the rain using cruise control.
The woman had thought she was acting cautiously, by setting the cruise control, so as to maintain a safe and consistent speed in the rain. The policeman told her that when the cruise control is on and the car begins to hydroplane, the car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed and take off like an aeroplane.
The policeman at the scene, believed the womanâs car was travelling through the air at 10 to 15 kms per hour faster than the speed set on the cruise control.
Hydroplaning accidents, which are also known as aquaplaning, or planing, are caused when a driver loses steering control because a layer of water on the roadway prevents direct contact between the tyres and the road surface. The resulting loss of friction causes the vehicle to lose steering, braking and power to the wheels, creating a complete loss of control for the driver. The vehicle will slide, or hydroplane, until it hits something, or friction between the road and wheels is regained. Hydroplaning can be caused by deep water, or heavy rain, speeding, imbalance through overloading and underinflated or poor condition tyres.
The policeman firmly believes that a warning sign should be posted on the driver's seat sunvisor, next to the information about the air bag, saying âNever use the cruise control when the road is wet or icy'. He believes no drivers are told to only use the cruise control when the road is dry.
The only person the accident victim found, who understood this (besides the policeman), was a man who had had a similar accident, totaled his car and sustained severe injuries. Passing this message on could save a life.
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