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What is adaptive cruise control or ACC?

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Adaptive cruise control (ACC) works differently to regular cruise control. ACC remembers the speed you set it to, as well as, speeding up and slowing down to maintain a safe following distance to the car in front. This works by you setting the speed on your cruise control, then you set the following distance e.g. 3 seconds or 4 seconds gap to the car in front. Then the ACC takes over and when the car in front speeds up or slows down so will your car, maintaining the distance you set. Once the car ahead moves out of your lane or accelerates beyond your car’s set speed, your ACC allows your car to return to the speed that you have set.

How does ACC Work?

ACC works in one of two ways. The first is using information from speed and distance sensors that can measure the distance from the car in front and adjust your speed to keep that same distance.

adaptive cruise control

The second is using a radar system. Radar waves are sent out from your car and reflected off the car in front of you, the distance, direction and relative speed are measured to work out if that car is within the distance and speed you set.

The pros and cons of ACC?

I have a love and hate of ACC technology. I will start with the love… I am tired after a long day and have a motorway journey home to my darling baby girl. With ACC I can set my speed and the following distance and relax ever so slightly knowing the car will adapt to follow the car in front. All good in theory!

However, one of my hates… I find myself on far too many occasions on the motorway thinking I am still cruising along at 110kmph happy following the car in front and then realising all the other cars are flying past and my car has slowed to 70kmph because there is someone super slow in front of me.

Another gripe is that some car systems are more sensitive than others, and if a car changes lane and you overtake or it slows down next to you then some cars I have driven get confused thinking they have come to a stop and come to an emergency stop!! Not fun or safe at all.

My personal conclusion is I don’t like it! I LOVE just plain old cruise control but when a car has adaptive cruise control (ACC) I use it out for BabyDrive but I am not a fan.

What else is adaptive cruise control called?

Radar cruise control

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Tace Clifford
About Tace Clifford
Tace Clifford founded BabyDrive in 2017 after discovering a huge information gap in mainstream car reviews that left new parents and expanding families in the dark when it came to one of the biggest purchasing decisions of their lives.

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