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Is it Bad to Use Cruise Control at Low Speeds?

Cruise control is a feature in vehicles that allows the driver to set a specific speed for the car, which the vehicle will then maintain automatically. It is commonly used on highways and long-distance drives to relieve the driver from constantly having to maintain the speed manually. However, many people wonder if it is safe or even necessary to use cruise control at low speeds.

Understanding Cruise Control

Cruise control is designed to maintain a constant speed for the vehicle, allowing the driver to relax their foot from the accelerator pedal. It is typically used on highways or open roads, where there is less traffic and fewer stops.

Using Cruise Control at Low Speeds

Using cruise control at low speeds, such as in city traffic or congested areas, may not be practical or efficient. In these situations, the speed often fluctuates due to frequent stops, traffic signals, or traffic congestion. Engaging cruise control in such circumstances can lead to constant acceleration and deceleration, which may not only be annoying but also fuel-inefficient.

Fuel Efficiency Considerations

One of the primary benefits of using cruise control is improved fuel efficiency. However, this benefit is more significant at higher speeds, where aerodynamic drag becomes a significant factor. At low speeds, aerodynamic drag is generally minimal, and the gains in fuel efficiency from using cruise control are relatively negligible.

Safety Concerns

Using cruise control at low speeds may also pose safety concerns. In situations where there is a need for sudden braking or maneuvering to avoid obstacles, disengaging the cruise control can require additional time and attention. It is easier for a driver to quickly react to changing traffic conditions and adjust their speed manually when not relying on cruise control.


While cruise control is a convenient feature for long-distance drives and highway travel, it may not be practical or efficient to use at low speeds. In congested areas or city traffic, the constant acceleration and deceleration associated with cruise control may lead to fuel inefficiency and annoyance. Additionally, safety concerns arise when quick reactions are needed. As a general rule, it is best to reserve the use of cruise control for open roads with minimal stops and traffic.