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Cassis Red Pearl
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, to get to work I shoot down I-78 E for about 20 miles. I usually plop it into cruise control at 65mph and just coast along bumpin' tunes. It's actually a pretty relaxin' ride.

Today though, it was raining, and I have this imbedded paranoia (sp?) about using the cruise control in the rain. I've heard that it can make you hydroplane like crazy if you hit a puddle or something?

Any thoughts/ experience with this??? I'm bored. Entertain me with your thoughts!
 

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Yes it was a Maxima.
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601 Posts
Umm

Cruise control will try and maintain a certain drive wheel speed. When you start to hydroplane with constant throttle, your drive wheels (in this case the fronts) will essentially float atop the water and become unloaded. They will start to spin much faster, causing the drive wheel speed to increase dramatically.

Cruise control is essentially a negative feedback system; it maintains a certain drive wheel speed by lifting throttle when the speed is exceeded and increasing throttle when the speed is undercut. In this situation it would automatically apply less gas when the wheels become unloaded, in order to maintain the drive wheel speed that you set (say 65mph). This won't be a big deal unless you hit a really long puddle and slow to say 30mph by the end of it, at which point you can just tap the brakes and it will deactivate.

No harm using cruise control in the rain.
 

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Cassis Red Pearl
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmmm. That's a damn good answer. So what you're saying is that when I hit the puddle and my drive wheels become unloaded and start spinning faster, cruise control is basically just gonna let the car coast. Then, when it reaches the end of the puddle, drive wheels retain traction (but I'd have slowed siginificantly due to the hydroplaning/lack of throttle from cruise control) and cruise control should safely bring me back up to speed?
 

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Cassis Red Pearl
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Used the cruise control on the way home with no problems! First time I've used it in the rain. Seriously.

I love cruise control. I use it like its my job. Pretty much the best feature on any car. Period.
 

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Yes it was a Maxima.
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601 Posts
Hmmm. That's a damn good answer. So what you're saying is that when I hit the puddle and my drive wheels become unloaded and start spinning faster, cruise control is basically just gonna let the car coast. Then, when it reaches the end of the puddle, drive wheels retain traction (but I'd have slowed siginificantly due to the hydroplaning/lack of throttle from cruise control) and cruise control should safely bring me back up to speed?
Not quite coast, but maintain the same speed. In theory, with cruise control your wheels will be going the same speed towards the end of the puddle that they were before you hit it, although your car will be slowed depending on the length of the puddle. In practice I can't imagine it would be too different.

If you hydroplane for more than half a second or so (your car will have slowed by a decent amount if it's more than that), gently tap the brakes or depress the clutch to deactivate the CC and spare your transmission the lurch that it will incur when your 65mph tires meet the pavement that is only traveling 30-40mph. It won't break your transmission but it is what you'd call "unecessary wear" and with regular occurrence can start to cause problems.
 

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Cassis Red Pearl
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just thought I'd let everyone know that using your cruise control in the rain or in any wet conditions IS INDEED HAZARDOUS. I just got an e-mail from my sister. It was one of those forwards that is some sappy story about somebody crashing their car because they were using cruise control in the rain.

Remembering this post converstation I had with Wheelhop I thought, FALSE!, that must be a bullshit story. So I checked it out on snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages, which does a pretty good job of keeping track of these e-mail chain letters and other false internet propaganda.

To my surprise, it turns out USING CRUISE CONTROL IN THE RAIN IS HAZARDOUS!!!

SO BE WARNED!!! Good day my fellow legenders.
 

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Leaving the lights on
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1,119 Posts
While we're on the subject, don't use cruise control when your speedo is acting up... please...
 
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