Lately, the automobile industry has seen tremendous technological advances that have made the sector more effective, cruise control inclusive. Does this, however, apply to semitrucks?
Driving a semitruck is not easy, as things will often happen around you, some within your influence and some out of your control. This could be regarding the weight the truck carries and the bad weather that may affect the roads, among other factors. What’s worse, semitrucks are not quick to halt like smaller cars.
Therefore, do these technological advancements impact the semitruck driving industry?
Do semitrucks have cruise control?
Most semitrucks have cruise control, and some even have adaptive cruise control.
This article will give you all the details you need to know about cruise control and its impact on the semitruck industry.
Do Semitrucks Have Cruise Control?
Yes, semitrucks have cruise control that efficiently helps drivers reduce fatigue and monotony while on long-distance journeys. Older trucks with manual transmissions also have some automated driving features.
Cruise control systems are artificial systems that copy what a human driver would do. Cruise control is a feature that uses an actuator to control the movement of the vehicle, giving room for the driver to reduce pressure on the gas pedal.
Just like the autopilot feature for airplanes, cruise control gives the automobile a pre-set speed to maintain instead of letting the driver do the controlling at all times.
Of course, you have to be alert because things will always happen around you, like the aforementioned, bad roads, crazy four-wheelers, and many more things.
How About Adaptive Cruise Control?
Adaptive cruise control is common in most of the latest semitrucks.
Adaptive cruise control is more helpful to semitrucks because a semitruck has a blind spot in front. The system can sense nearby vehicles, apply the brakes, and avoid crashes.
Because adaptive cruise control is an automated system, mishaps might sometimes occur but are very rare.
The Parts of a Cruise Control System
What makes up a cruise control system? What makes it function?
Below are the components that make up the cruise control system and what makes the system work for cars and trucks alike.
- Vacuum valve – as the name suggests, it is a valve that controls when the throttle is shut or open to provide power to the actuator.
- Actuator – this device adjusts the speed of the moving vehicle.
- Cruise control computer – this is the brain of the whole cruise control system. This computer is responsible for the adjustments of steering controls, the application of brakes, and the control signals on the vacuum valve. More advanced cruise control computers can even detect the speeds of cars ahead and adjust the relative speed accordingly. Some are even fitted with lane-keeping detectors, making the driving experience a lot easier.
Cruise control is only functional because of the coordination in these systems. With the emergence of new technologies, driving is getting much easier, effortless, and safer for semitrucks.
When to Use Cruise Control?
Cruise controls work by setting a pre-defined speed of the vehicle to maintain the acceleration. This application perfectly works out on a slightly hilly or flat terrain, where the truck will only maintain the speed.
However, cruise control might disengage for hilly or rough terrains, and the driver will need to manually downshift to a lower gear.
However, it is possible to set your cruise control to operate in lower gears, but that takes skill.
Cruise control is handy when navigating barely used roads or those with low traffic. For busier roads, however, you shouldn’t engage cruise control assists.
Reasons to Use Cruise Control
With some states implementing speed limiter laws for trucks, having a cruise control mechanism helps the driver maintain safe speeds whenever the adjustment is needed.
When using cruise control, therefore, set the cruising momentum at safe speeds and let the cruise control ease you through the journey without losing track of your speeds. Just ensure you are on the lookout for speed limit changes.
Furthermore, when the cruise control is on, the relative cruising speeds are recorded by the ECM of the truck, and this might be the very crucial piece of evidence needed to prove that you were driving at safe speeds just in case of an accident.
Cruise Control Tips for:
Stable and controlled speeds manage a vehicle’s momentum and stability. So when the weather changes and the road turns to anything other than dry, it is most advisable to switch off the cruise control without necessarily applying the brakes.
The application of brakes might immensely destabilize your truck and may lead to crashes, so you must go for the cruise control switch, then help your truck gradually get to a manageable speed.
Don’t use cruise control on slippery roads. As a truck driver, you might be under pressure to deliver your goods on time and feel the urge to engage in cruise control, even on slippery roads.
As aforementioned, this is a bad idea, and some truck companies take it seriously to the level of firing an employee who is found engaging the cruise control on slippery surfaces.
If the truck hits an ice patch while engaged in the cruise control, for example, the resulting crash might be fatal because you won’t have the time to adjust the speed.
The Benefits of Cruise Control for Truckers
Different trucks have different features, functions, and capabilities. Cruise control is a common feature to all, thanks to its relevance that cuts across all vehicles, including semitrucks.
Cruise controls help truckers relieve themselves from the fatigue associated with constant driving, such as having a foot on a pedal at all times and not being able to move muscles when going for long-distance drives.
More Benefits of Using Cruise Control on Semi-Trucks
- Truck drivers often do not always know they are driving at high speeds till it’s too late and will get speeding tickets or even cause accidents, as per the statistics about truck accidents. When using cruise control, however, the feature enables you to confidently cruise through any road with a stable and constant speed limit.
- Enabling the cruise control will prevent the truck from unwanted acceleration as a result of slightly leaning on the gas pedal.
- Engagement of cruise control gives room and ample time for the driver to check and concentrate more on what is happening around the truck and even provides space for them to check on the general status of the truck.
- Cruise control is an easier mode of travel for both the driver and the truck. Besides, it saves more fuel while ensuring that the driver is still in control of the vehicle.
- Cruise control also improves driver comfort by reducing fatigue associated with less muscle movement.
Disadvantages of Cruise Control
- Drivers may be distracted from their primary duty, driving, and might subsequently cause truck accidents, including low-clearance accidents, because of the lack of attention.
- Drivers are more susceptible to highway hypnosis because of maintaining the same driving positions for a long time.
- Not suitable for wet weather. Cruise control is only favorable for dry weather and is highly discouraged for use on wet roads because of the high risk of accidents.
- Since cruise control is similar to auto-drive, you won’t have control of the truck when approaching turns or bends or navigating rough roads.
- Outside driver control, there are chances of engaging in accidents, especially when under cruise control.
What Makes Cruise Control Fuel Efficient?
When the truck is under cruise control, the fuel consumption rate is lower but gives the same effective output, evidenced by the perfectly maintained speeds.
Cruise control, therefore, improves the efficiency of the truck.
More Technological Improvements for Semitrucks
Autonomous semitrucks, for example, are currently underway, with test runs already in place for the already manufactured trucks. It will be a while before they get incorporated into the mainstream market, but, for a fact, they are underway.
With the invention of electric and hydrogen trucks, the truck industry may eventually go fully green.
Cruise control is a feature that all semitrucks have and is helping the drivers enjoy their journeys by making the driving experience easier with every mile covered.
However, it is essential to remember that cruising at relatively high speeds is not advisable, just as it is not good to enable cruise control in road conditions other than dry.