Towing with cruise control
Most of us here in Australia are used to long car trips travelling across this vast country of ours.
Many of our customers have wondered whether it is safe to tow a caravan with cruise control on.
The answer is: not always.
Here’s what you need to know when you are deciding whether to turn on your cruise control or not:
- When to use cruise control: Cruise control can provide the driver comfort and improve fuel consumption by reducing sudden accelerations and decelerations. It is important to remember, though, that cruise control is intended for roadways without frequent stops and turns. Using cruise control with a well-matched tow vehicle and caravan is safest and most effective on flat, straight highways.
- Setting your speed: When setting a speed point, remember that trailer tyres have speed limit maximums, which may not be as high as the speed limit on the road you are driving on. The speed limit is stated in a code on the tyre. Generally, the speed limit on trailer tyres is 100 km/per. Do not exceed this limit.
- When not to use cruise control: Always disengage cruise control and drive manually on winding roads so that you can pace your speed through the turns. It is also unsafe to set a speed point on roads with varying speed limits. And always choose driving manually over using cruise control in bad weather.
- Variations to consider: The towing capacity of a vehicle in relation to the total weight (GVW) of the trailer it is pulling will make a difference in how well cruise control will perform on grades and hills. If your transmission starts downshifting (hunting for the right gear) on steep uphill grades, it is safer to disengage the cruise control and drive manually. When you are driving down hills, disengage the cruise control and drive manually; cruise control will not keep the speed from exceeding the set point.
- Items to check: If your vehicle has overdrive, check the vehicle manual regarding the use of overdrive with cruise control.
- ABS (Automatic Braking Function): ABS works when cruise control is engaged and will apply the brakes quickly and suddenly if a car or other object moves into your radar range. Be cautious if you have ABS installed in your car.