If you are on a highway with free moving traffic and a strict speed limit, you could engage a feature called Cruise Control. What Cruise Control does is, continue to drive the car by itself at a defined speed. The driver no longer has to press the gas pedal. All he needs to do is steer the car and stay prepared to brake if required to stop or to slow down. The moment you apply the brake or press the gas pedal to speed up, the Cruise Control function gets disengaged automatically.

Cruise Control is a feature which, in India is offered in select variants of cars belonging to the D segment or above.

Abroad where the freeways are disciplined with respect to lane, speed, etc, this is a great feature. Cruise Control ends up reducing the stress of driving a great deal.

Having driven in the Cruise Control mode extensively in India, I have grown to believe that this is one feature, which can get you into a spot of bother. What I have noticed happens is, when you engage the Cruise Control, you tend to relax a bit. Let your guard down. Place the left leg on the phantom pedal and continue to manage just the steering which is the way to go. But in India, the traffic is not as disciplined. You have people driving at wrong speeds in the wrong lanes, you have people switching lanes abruptly. You have people not using indicators as prescribed or worse, use them to communicate something other than what is prescribed worldwide, pedestrians crossing roads and expressways, you name it!

What I have noticed is, when you are in Cruise Control mode with your guard lowered, your reflexes tend to slow down as well and you find yourself not very alert to cope with the surprises that the other drivers on the road readily and abundantly present to you. If you need to brake fast, you tend to take a second longer and that can be costly.

Just another feature that works worldwide but thanks to the overall awareness and discipline of users of the road in India, it just doesn’t work and I would advise you against its use.

In advanced cars like the Mercedes Benz S Class, you can set additional parameters like distance from the car in front, etc which the car maintains by automatically slowing down and increasing the speed depending on the progress of the car ahead and also manages to steer itself out of a tight spot.

In a car not as advanced, this has to be done manually and that is a problem keeping Indian condition in mind.


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