What is Active Cruise Control

August 14th, 2017 by

2018 Volkswagen Jetta

Most people are familiar with cruise control: you set your car at a specific speed on an open road and then let your car take care of the rest. Your engine will maintain the same speed, which is not only good for your gas mileage — it also ensures you don’t see those famous blue and red lights flashing in your rearview mirror. But what if the road you’re on isn’t exactly empty or something unexpected happens? Active (or Adaptive) Cruise Control (ACC) can step to keep you safe, and make you feel more confident in the road by keeping track of where you are in relationship to other objects on the road.

Proper Spacing and Distance

When it comes to people, keeping your distance might make you feel isolated and lonely. But when it comes to driving, you need to let other cars have some breathing room. Active cruise control measures your car against other cars, and then adjusts your speed. You’re still keeping up with the flow of traffic, but you aren’t risking a collision if the driver in front of you accidentally spills hot coffee on their lap. You set both the maximum speed and the minimum distance, so you can let your Volkswagen do the rest.

How It Works

ACC uses radar sensors to figure out a number of different variables around you. It’s measuring the speed of the traffic in front of you, and the rate at which it accelerates and decelerates. If traffic starts to slow down, you start to slow down. If traffic in front of you stops completely, then it applies the brake so you can come to as smooth of a stop as possible. It can’t prevent all accidents or incidents, but it can certainly give the driver’s reflexes a bit of a break. This feature is meant to give the driver a little help when it comes to being on the road, but it should be noted that this is not a robotic system that fully controls the car. The driver overrides the system completely simply by pressing their foot on one of the pedals, or by switching it off through the dashboard.

Benefits to You

This feature is tailor made for those in big cities where stop-and-go traffic is practically the only thing on the menu when it comes to either highway or surface streets. And it really can save you trips to the tank by maintaining a constant speed for maximum fuel economy. While drivers already know how to slow down and speed up, it can be exhausting to keep up with every little moving part on the road. With so much to keep track of, it can ultimately wear our brains down. Just one traffic-filled trip can cause drivers to feel stressed or irritable for the rest of the day. ACC may not seem necessary until you realize just how much you needed a break from the intensity you find every single day on the road.