This went out around my company as a safety message. I myself don't use cruise control on wet roads anyway - just seems like common sense to me - but I'm not sure if this explanation seems right to me. I can't imagine wheels speeding up when they lose contact with pavement. Having less resistance on them, they might only try to maintain their speed of rotation. Is there any scientific substance to this story, and is there any accepted thinking on using cruise control on wet, rainy, or icy road surfaces? The message follows:
A 36 year old female had an accident several weeks ago and totaled her car. A resident of Kilgore, Texas, she was traveling between Gladewater & Kilgore. It was raining, though not excessive, when her car suddenly began to hydroplane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence !
When she explained to the highway patrolman what had happened he told her something that every driver should know - NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE CONTROL ON. She had thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe consistent speed in the rain.
But the highway patrolman told her that if the cruise control is on and your car begins to hydroplane - - when your tires loose contact with the pavement your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed and you take off like an airplane. She told the patrolman that was exactly what had occurred. We all know you have little or no control over a car when it begins to hydroplane. You are at the mercy of the Good Lord. The highway patrol estimated her car was actually traveling through the air at 10 to 15 miles per hour faster than the speed set on the cruise control.
The patrolman said this warning should be listed, on the drivers seat sun-visor - NEVER USE THE CRUISE CONTROL WHEN THE PAVEMENT IS WET OR ICY, along with the airbag warning. We tell our teenagers to set the cruise control and drive a safe speed-but we don't tell them to use the cruise control only when the pavement is dry.
The only person the accident victim found, who knew this ( besides the patrolman ), was a man who had had a similar accident, totaled his car and sustained severe injuries.