January 4, 2010 (Newswire.com) - Wet conditions and cruise control can cause devastating accidents.
A 36-year-old woman was recently involved in an accident that wrote her car off. Travelling between Wollongong & Sydney, in wet conditions, though not excessive, her car suddenly hydroplaned and literally flew through the air. Fortunately she was not seriously injured, but was badly shaken by what had happened.
When she reported the incident to a policeman, he told her what every driver should be aware of. Never drive in wet conditions with cruise control on.
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 believed the woman's car was travelling through the air at 10 to 15 kms per hour faster than the speed set on the cruise control.
Hydroplaning accidents, sometimes known as aquaplaning or planing, are caused when a driver loses steering control because a layer of water on the roadway interferes with direct contact between the tyres and the road surface. The resulting loss of friction causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle as there is a loss of braking, steering and power to the wheels. The vehicle slides until it connects with something else, or friction between the road and wheels is regained. Hydroplaning risks happen when there is the presence of deep water or heavy rain, the vehicle speeding, or overloaded, or there is poor tyre maintenance, such as- worn out or underinflated tires.
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 'Never 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 could find, who recognized this (besides the policeman), was a man who had had a similar accident, totaled his car and sustained severe injuries. Passing this message on might save a life.
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