What Is Adaptive Cruise Control?

Adaptive cruise control and speed limit display

Adaptive cruise control, also called ACC, allows you to use cruise control in heavier traffic conditions.

Widely adopted in the new models of many vehicles, ACC technologies can adjust your speed to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you without repeatedly turning off and then re-set the cruise control.

The result is cruise control that can accommodate merging vehicles and the changing paces of morning commutes. This advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) makes cruise control more useful, comfortable, and safer.

How Does Adaptive Cruise Control Work?

The most common ACC systems use a series of speed and distance sensors to adjust the vehicle's speed. Distance sensors monitor the space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Speed sensors are used to accelerate and decelerate your vehicle automatically.

While less common, some adaptive cruise control systems are radar-based. Instead of a series of sensors, a radar-based system uses radar to sense objects in front of the vehicle and calculate potential speed adjustments accordingly.

How to Use Adaptive Cruise Control

If you’re comfortable operating a standard cruise control, you’ll have no issues using ACC.

Purchasing or leasing a vehicle with adaptive cruise control? Here’s how it works:

  • How to activate: Like standard cruise control, accelerate to your preferred speed and set the cruise by pressing the appropriate button. Next, you’ll have to set your following distance. Most designs will offer close, medium, and far settings to toggle between.

  • How to turn off adaptive cruise control: Simply re-press the start button or tap the brake to disengage ACC. This will turn off the cruise control, but other ADAS technologies, like automatic emergency braking (AEB) will continue to operate.

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ADAS and Adaptive Cruise Control

ACC often works in tandem with these other ADAS systems:

  • Forward collision warning. ACC pairs with forward collision warning and sounds an alarm when the sensors predict a potential crash.

  • Autonomous emergency braking. Many—not all—vehicles with ACC will employ automatic emergency braking (AEB) if a crash is imminent.

  • Lane assist. Coupling ACC with lane assist, your vehicle can nearly drive by itself: It can center itself in a lane and accelerate and decelerate as needed with traffic. (You still must be there to oversee and make other driving decisions, but it’s getting close to being fully autonomous.)

  • GPS or traffic sign recognition. When you pair ACC with a GPS or a traffic sign recognition system, you can prevent unintentional speeding, as your vehicle will adjust its speed to meet legal limits.

The latest ADAS technologies are often available on new electric vehicles. Are you interested in adding an EV to your household? Make sure you’re equipped to charge fast and efficiently with a Level 2 charger. Learn more about electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) installation and service from our friends at local Mr. Electric.

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Adaptive Cruise Control Calibration

For ACC to function properly, it needs to be calibrated after a collision or repair that may have disturbed any of the various ADAS sensors. Also, if you get a warning message that a sensor is blocked, experiencing failure, or temporarily unavailable, it may be time to stop in for recalibration.

At Glass Doctor, our recalibration service is focused on the windshield. When we replace your windshield, we’ll calibrate the affected ADAS sensors so your systems work like new.

Windshield Replacement and ADAS Recalibration

Adaptive cruise control makes driving long distances safer and more comfortable. Coupled with other ADAS systems, ACC can also alert you to potential collisions and stop the vehicle, if necessary, to prevent a crash.

To keep your ADAS systems in safe working order, ensure they’re calibrated after your windshield is replaced. Rely on your local Glass Doctor specialists to ensure your vehicle is ready to hit the road after a replacement. Request an estimate online or give us a call at (833) 974-0209 to get started.