It’s just not acc-eptable

Adaptive Cruise ControlI have a new worst enemy, and its name is Adaptive Cruise Control. I’ve been driving a few cars equipped with ACC lately, and I absolutely hate it.

The general idea, if you’re a marketing man responsible for selling the car, is that this wonderful invention looks out for slower cars ahead of you and, if you’re approaching one, slows off to match their speed so there’s no danger of hitting someone.

I’m sorry, but that’s absolutely ridiculous. How many accidents have ever happened in the history of mankind because someone doing 70mph drove into the back of someone doing 65mph? Its primary function is completely null and void.

Another benefit that the stupidest system on earth is meant to have is that it will track the speed of the person in front of you if they’re going slower than the speed your ACC is set at. And it does, after a fashion.

The problem is that rather than adopting a smooth technique, allowing a sort of ‘elastic band effect’ to take place between it and the car in front to account for minor increases and decreases in speed, the idiot ACC tries to follow every little change in speed, which not only makes it a really rough ride, but it ruins your fuel economy at what should be prime time for achieving the big numbers.

And then there are the general foibles with the system. You only have to enter the same galactic sector as the car in front before it starts slowing you down. That means that if you’re only going a little bit faster than the car in front, you’re still forced to pull out incredibly early and creep up in the next lane, when it would have been far better for the general flow of traffic to stay behind the car until much later before pulling out.

Nor can you approach a middle lane driver in the left hand lane and then pull out to go around them because the ACC blows a gasket and associated systems hit the brakes, causing you to unexpectedly headbutt the steering wheel and look thoroughly ridiculous in front of everyone who happened to be watching.

ACC is a nanny where no nanny is needed. ESP – fair enough, it does a good job when people need it most. ABS – likewise. But ACC takes the motorway driver’s best friend, cruise control, and turns it into something you just don’t want to use because it’s so completely useless. Cruise control takes some of the stress out of long journeys, but ACC puts it all back in with a vengeance. Somebody please get rid of it.

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