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Never had a car with Adaptive cruise control. I'm scared to use it


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17 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   rocky

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 12:38 AM

i was thinking about using it today on my new ffh after staring at all the buttons before i merged on the highway.

 

-First of all, is it usual to have these many buttons, or is the ffh just unique?

-Secondly, for those who have used it on the ffh, do you find yourselves accidentally pressing the wrong thing when activating or changing the settings on the ACC based on all the control buttons? Or has the layout actually made it more useful for you to use?

-Thirdly, have you had some close calls where the adapative cruise control did not work as readily, and you came close to a crash or perhaps did bump the car in front of you despite adding more than 2 bars of space on the settings?

-Lastly, have you all noticed big improvements in your mpg's when using it, or are you guys seeing comparable results with just doing regular driving and aiming the throttle to 2 bars on the Empower display?

 

Right when i was trying to set it up, i kept thinking i was going to crash into the car in front of me if they broke too hard (i was in variable traffic on the highway with many cars merging in the right lane). I ended up breaking and canceling the ACC. I know I can't be the only one who's been a bit intimidated with using it. Wanted to see what you all have experienced with your FFH, or even adapative cruise control in general in other cars.









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#2 OFFLINE   Barsoom

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 02:25 AM

I use it all the time, even for local in-town driving. I think that the computers a are more responsive from an economic perspective for adapting to the gentle slope of the roads.

 

To your questions.

 

Don't expect the car to rapidly slow down when the highway suddenly slows for an accident. It is intended for the kind of speed up and slow down from a car or two in front of you. It will rapid slow down at the very end, much later than you would on your own. But otherwise, I love it.

 

Use the separator buttons to increase the response distance. If you think that traffic ahead will congest and slow down, then press the distance to 2 bars, or 3 or 4, to get your car to slow down sooner. To increase speed, make the following distance shorter and the car will speed up to close the gap.

 

If I'm approaching a light or stop sign, I press the disengage button and let the car slow down on its own. This starts the regen process, and you can gently press the brake to increase this.

 

If you have the Eco-cruise setting turned on, this will slow down how fast the car accelerates. You can compensate for slow acceleration by setting the cruise speed to 10 mph over the desired speed and then disengage and reset the speed when you reach  your  desired speed. It seems that the FFH will accelerate faster if the set speed is  a lot higher than the current speed. In Eco-cruise, it will accelerate more slowly if it is already close to the desired speed.

 

On local surface streets, I keep it at 1 bar, otherwise you will be too far behind the leading car  for others on the road behind you. I use 2 bars as the default on highways, 3 bars if approaching an junction or merge, and 3-4 bars if I want to begin slowing down in anticipation of oncoming traffic. I also use 4 bars on long interstate highways without a lot of traffic.

 

Hope this helps.


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#3 OFFLINE   corncobs

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:03 AM

Very nice explanation by Barsoom.

I don't have ACC but as the button layout goes I think it's very well designed. My left thumb knows the 5 buttons it needs to control based on the little ridge line.
Give it some time you will get used to quickly even for the reaction of the ACC. Just never forget it's not a self driving car yet even if it feels like it.
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#4 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:40 AM

It does take a little bit of time to gain confidence in the ACC system and to understand what it will and won't do.  One of the key things to remember is that it ignores any object that isn't moving.  So if you're driving along and there are cars stopped in the road in front of you for a red light or something, it will not react to that.   If the cars are still slowing down coming up to the red light, it can usually handle that.  The system is designed so that if you're cruising along at 80mph and come up to a vehicle going 40mph in front of you, it will slow you down in enough time.  If that vehicle were doing 35mph, it will know that it can't slow down in time and will set off the collision warning alert, which means you need to hit the brakes.

 

The system reacts in the same way that things happen.  If cars in front of you change speeds slowly, it will change speeds slowly.  If someone merges in front of you, it will take what seems like a while (but really isn't) and then slow quickly.  That's why I don't recommend using it in situations where cars will be merging in front of you, but it is otherwise quite useful in heavy traffic both on the freeway and the city.

When I use ACC, I set the gap to the closest setting and never touch it.

As for fuel economy, it does ok, but will never be as good as an attentive driver.  It can only react, it can't predict what's happening to the traffic or terrain ahead, so it will always be reacting too late to maximize fuel economy as the conditions change.



#5 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 09:41 AM

When collision alert flashes, the brakes precharge to slow you faster too, so it does help in situations posted above more than if you didn't have it.

 

One thing to note about the Collision Alert, if you are already braking, it will not activate. Know this first hand back on 2-21. Had I not been on the brakes slowing down, there is a pretty good chance it would have alerted me in time to avoid the car I could not see. 

 

It does take some patience to gain some trust in the system and it is pretty freaky the first few times the car slows itself down. 


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#6 OFFLINE   hybridbear

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 10:27 AM

I wish it had a farther following distance. Even the longest gap is too close for me. According to the OM the largest gap is still only 2.2 seconds. I was taught the 3 second following rule in drivers ed: 3 seconds with dry roads and clear visibility, 4 seconds in rain and 5+ seconds in snow or fog. A 2.2 second gap is not enough for treacherous road conditions in MN. There was a 61 car pile-up on one of our freeways on Monday. The accidents could largely have been avoided if motorists had been allowing a proper 5+ second following distance in the snow. Instead, everyone was racing along at 60 MPH on a snow covered road and crashed. You could see on the traffic camera video how some cars were able to avoid crashing because they had kept a proper following distance and were able to stop in time. Sadly, that didn't help them when someone hit them from behind.

 

One question about how the gaps work...are the gaps a fixed distance at all speeds or are the gaps based on your speed and maintaining a certain number of seconds of following distance? The OM seems to indicate that they're a fixed meters of gap, but it isn't clear.

 

I have used it a few times at 60+ MPH and have not been comfortable with how close the Adaptive Cruise has me follow other vehicles even at the largest gap setting.


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#7 OFFLINE   rocky

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 10:44 AM

I use it all the time, even for local in-town driving. I think that the computers a are more responsive from an economic perspective for adapting to the gentle slope of the roads.

 

To your questions.

 

Don't expect the car to rapidly slow down when the highway suddenly slows for an accident. It is intended for the kind of speed up and slow down from a car or two in front of you. It will rapid slow down at the very end, much later than you would on your own. But otherwise, I love it.

 

Use the separator buttons to increase the response distance. If you think that traffic ahead will congest and slow down, then press the distance to 2 bars, or 3 or 4, to get your car to slow down sooner. To increase speed, make the following distance shorter and the car will speed up to close the gap.

 

If I'm approaching a light or stop sign, I press the disengage button and let the car slow down on its own. This starts the regen process, and you can gently press the brake to increase this.

 

If you have the Eco-cruise setting turned on, this will slow down how fast the car accelerates. You can compensate for slow acceleration by setting the cruise speed to 10 mph over the desired speed and then disengage and reset the speed when you reach  your  desired speed. It seems that the FFH will accelerate faster if the set speed is  a lot higher than the current speed. In Eco-cruise, it will accelerate more slowly if it is already close to the desired speed.

 

On local surface streets, I keep it at 1 bar, otherwise you will be too far behind the leading car  for others on the road behind you. I use 2 bars as the default on highways, 3 bars if approaching an junction or merge, and 3-4 bars if I want to begin slowing down in anticipation of oncoming traffic. I also use 4 bars on long interstate highways without a lot of traffic.

 

Hope this helps.

 

wow thanks for the detailed explanation.

 

What do you do once you've selected a specific speed, lets say 55mph, and then the highway clears up, do I have to brake first to start all over and hit "on", speed up to 65 mph lets say, and then hit "set"? Or can i get away with just speeding up and then rehit "set"? I dunno if that makes sense the way I'm asking. I just want to see if i can increase the speed on the ACC without starting all over from the beginning instructions.



#8 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 10:48 AM

 

wow thanks for the detailed explanation.

 

What do you do once you've selected a specific speed, lets say 55mph, and then the highway clears up, do I have to brake first to start all over and hit "on", speed up to 65 mph lets say, and then hit "set"? Or can i get away with just speeding up and then rehit "set"? I dunno if that makes sense the way I'm asking. I just want to see if i can increase the speed on the ACC without starting all over from the beginning instructions.

 

Just hit the "+" button 10 times, it will take you up to 65 all by itself.  In fact you don't even have to wait until traffic clears.  You can hit the + button while you're behind another car doing 55.  It will keep you behind the car at 55 until the car moves, then it will take you up to 65 on it's own.  Think of the setting as a "maximum" speed.  it will always try to get you to that speed, but it will hold you back if there is another car in front.

 

You can even use the "-" button in the same way.  Hit the - button as you pull off the freeway and it will even use the brakes to bring you down to the new set speed.


Edited by Waldo, 26 March 2014 - 10:50 AM.

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#9 OFFLINE   rocky

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 11:13 AM

It does take a little bit of time to gain confidence in the ACC system and to understand what it will and won't do.  One of the key things to remember is that it ignores any object that isn't moving.  So if you're driving along and there are cars stopped in the road in front of you for a red light or something, it will not react to that.   If the cars are still slowing down coming up to the red light, it can usually handle that.  The system is designed so that if you're cruising along at 80mph and come up to a vehicle going 40mph in front of you, it will slow you down in enough time.  If that vehicle were doing 35mph, it will know that it can't slow down in time and will set off the collision warning alert, which means you need to hit the brakes.

 

The system reacts in the same way that things happen.  If cars in front of you change speeds slowly, it will change speeds slowly.  If someone merges in front of you, it will take what seems like a while (but really isn't) and then slow quickly.  That's why I don't recommend using it in situations where cars will be merging in front of you, but it is otherwise quite useful in heavy traffic both on the freeway and the city.

When I use ACC, I set the gap to the closest setting and never touch it.

As for fuel economy, it does ok, but will never be as good as an attentive driver.  It can only react, it can't predict what's happening to the traffic or terrain ahead, so it will always be reacting too late to maximize fuel economy as the conditions change.

 

wait a minute, that sounds risky to me. If i hit a wall of stand still traffic, the radar on the ACC won't make the car come to a complete stop? What if i am in stop and go traffic, the radar will have to stop the car depending if the car in front is completely stopped. Won't it?

 

I definitely want to make my traffic experience more bearable as i hate the stop and go of daily rush-hour traffic (which is why i even bought something that has regenerative breaking), but I also hate having to do the monotony of throttle to break. And i thought the ACC the way the salesman pitched it to me was that it would do the job of "stopping" and going with traffic.



#10 OFFLINE   rocky

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 11:19 AM

And one last silly question, I get what "cncl" means on the button (which i assume is the same as hitting the break to deactivate the ACC), but what would be a scenario to hit the same button to use the "res" feature? IF the ACC is already turned on, and I haven't hit "cncl" or hit the break, when would I ever need to hit the same button to resume (I'm assuming of course the "res" stands for resume).



#11 OFFLINE   murphy

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 11:44 AM

You are traveling at 55 mph and see a stop light ahead turn orange.  Hit the RES/CNCL button to disengage the speed control and let the car slow down.  If the light doesn't change to green before you get there then you will need the brake pedal to stop.  In either case after you pass the light and get up to 20 mph (the minimum for the speed control) hit the RES/CNCL button to re-engage the speed control and it will take you back up to 55 mph using ECO acceleration mode if you have it enabled.


Edited by murphy, 26 March 2014 - 11:46 AM.

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#12 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 12:11 PM

The ACC only works above 16mph.  As soon as it slows you down below 16mph, it beeps at you and turns off.  You then have to put your foot on the brake to stop the car  It's not for stop-and-go traffic, just medium and high speed traffic.

Resume and cancel works exactly the same way as any other cruise control on any car made in the last 25 years (just like the + and - buttons too).  The only difference is that if there is a car in front of you going less than your set speed, it won't keep going until it gets to that speed, it will just keep following the car in front.

 

If you hit a wall of traffic that isn't moving and the system hasn't detected it, it means you must have had nobody in front of you for half a mile and you should have had plenty of time to hit the brake yourself.



#13 OFFLINE   Riggo

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 03:57 PM

 

wait a minute, that sounds risky to me. If i hit a wall of stand still traffic, the radar on the ACC won't make the car come to a complete stop? What if i am in stop and go traffic, the radar will have to stop the car depending if the car in front is completely stopped. Won't it?

 

I definitely want to make my traffic experience more bearable as i hate the stop and go of daily rush-hour traffic (which is why i even bought something that has regenerative breaking), but I also hate having to do the monotony of throttle to break. And i thought the ACC the way the salesman pitched it to me was that it would do the job of "stopping" and going with traffic.

 

It looks like your salesman lied to you. It will slow you down but won't bring you to a complete stop. It does just what Waldo said above.

If you wanted a car that is able to come to a complete stop, you should have gone with the Mazda 6 with City Stop feature.

I do wonder if the Fusion with ACC could be modified via a software upgrade to do the same thing as the Mazda 6 with City Stop.



#14 OFFLINE   bradycl98258

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:12 PM

The only thing I have found difficult to get used to when using the ACC in city traffic is that sometimes it's tracking will have a tendency to "follow" the car in front of you for a little too long after they get out of your lane.

 

For instance if I am behind someone and they pull over into a right turn lane and slow down to make their turn, I will often find my car slamming on the brakes, even though I have plenty of room with no one in front of me.

 

Most of the time now I remember to disengage for a moment when someone in front of me starts to look like they are about to get out of my lane and slow down at the same time or in quick succession, but its still a shock when I forget to disengage and the car hits the brakes hard!


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#15 OFFLINE   murphy

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:27 PM

You can override the slow down by depressing the accelerator pedal.



#16 OFFLINE   djminfll

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:08 PM

I have posted many times that I use the ACC about 90% of the time, both in city traffic and on the highway. About my only real criticism of ACC is when it misreads something in front and applies the brakes. For example, there is a bicycle rider in the bike lane adjacent to my lane, he is riding 25mph. I am going 35mph, and as I approach the biker, the car applies the brakes and slows to 25mph. I have to step on the accelerator to cancel the ACC and then hit RES to get back to 40mph. 

But, Rocky, do not be afraid to use your ACC. Do it on a road that is not congested, and keep your foot hovered over the brakes so that you can step on them if fear takes over. The first time the car slows down by itself, it will probably freak you out a little, but you'll get used to it fast. In fact, I had rented a car a few months ago that had regular Cruise Control, but not Adaptive CC. As I approached the slower car in front of me, I was so used to ACC that I didn't brake as soon as I would have. Eventually, I realized that I was not slowing down and had to hit the brakes to avoid hitting the other car. 


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#17 OFFLINE   Barsoom

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:26 PM

When you turn on the ACC, a symbol lights up on the left-side display. At the top is a car symbol that lights if it is sensing a car in front of you. Below this car symbol is where the 1-4 bars go, and below this is an ECO symbol, and below that is the set speed. If you also use the lane-keeping system, then dashed lane lines appear to the left and right of the ECO symbol, bracketing the whole ACC display. These change colors to white, yellow, and green, to indicate undetected, swerving too close to one side, or right in the center of the lane.

 

The On/Off button is below the left cursor buttons. To the left is the cancel/resume button. Below the cancel/resume are the increase/decrease speed buttons, and to the right of those are the increase/decrease distance buttons.

 

To set a speed, you have to press the +/- speed button. To accelerate or decelerate, press and hold either button, or repeatedly press the button. The cancel/resume does just that. To set a new speed entirely, press cancel and then + to lock in the current speed.

 

It appears that that the separation distance is direct length, not speed-adjusted length.

 

The car will ignore others cars stopped at left-turn lanes, but if you are behind a car that slows to make a right turn or slows to change into a left turn lane and then stops in that lane, your car might still slow down as if that turning car were still in your lane. Watch for this.


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#18 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:34 AM

 

The car will ignore others cars stopped at left-turn lanes, but if you are behind a car that slows to make a right turn or slows to change into a left turn lane and then stops in that lane, your car might still slow down as if that turning car were still in your lane. Watch for this.

 

Since the ACC is not tied into the GPS or lane-keeping camera, the ACC doesn't know if the car in front is making a lane change or if the road ahead has a gentle curve that you also will be taking.  Obviously it has to play it safe and assume that it's a curve so it takes a moment for it to realize that you are continuing straight and thus it doesn't need to track the other car anymore.

 

The ACC does use the steering wheel angle to calculate vehicle direction so it can predict where you are headed and look in that direction for traffic in front of you.  That's how you can keep the gap behind the other vehicles even on curvy roads.  it will even hold your speed down if you are in a sharp turn and it thinks you shouldn't go much faster.  For example you can be pulling onto a freeway on a sharp ramp and hit resume (if you previous set speed was from another freeway), but it won't start accelerating until you straighten out the wheel.


Edited by Waldo, 27 March 2014 - 10:38 AM.

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