Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why no cruise control Sweden? (Or is it just our crappy cars?)

OK, I am only speaking from my personal experience of buying a series of second, third and fourth hand cars (new cars depreciate so quickly and that is totally why I have never owned one) but it seems to me that Sweden lacks the whole ‘cruise control’ function.

My question is WHY? Cruise control is awesome. You just hit the button and you don’t have to constantly stare at your speedometer. What more do you need?

I know a whole lot of other crappy cars don’t have cruise control because, well, you get the single file slow down/speed up phenomenon. It drives me crazy. I pointed this out to the Swede and he was in total agreement – so it must be true.

This is what happens – You are driving down a single lane highway with a speedlimit of 55 MPH or 90 KPH if you are European. The car in front of you starts slowing down. They start going to 52, 50, 48, 45. This is because they are engaged in a fascinating conversation with the person sitting next to them and they are not looking at how fast they are going. Or maybe they are dancing to the music. Or maybe they are talking on their cell phones (why do Swedish laws still allow this craziness?).  What is certain is that they are going slower.

So then the highway opens up with a passing lane – this is a typical Swedish thing where there are two lanes for a short stretch, so you can pass other vehicles. Smart right?

But no. Because something strange and psychological happens as soon as the second lane pops up. That car that slowed down to 43 MPH, that driver suddenly looks down at his speedometer and notices. Just as you go to pass, they hit the gas and start speeding up. They speed up to excess because they are embarrassed for slowing down so much. All of a sudden they are going 65 MPH and you end up sliding back behind them because they cut you off when the passing lane ends.

And then, they start talking to their friend again. And the whole stupid thing happens again until you gun it fast enough to just shoot past them and be done with the whole stupid thing.

This scenario would be cured with a little cruise control. The other driver, who obviously wants to go the speedlimit, but just cannot be bothered to drive, could hit the button and always go 55 MPH. No more speeding tickets. No more annoyed other drivers.

What is the downside? 


  1. Hi I really like your blog and I just want to say that I think that only new cars have cruise control but I don't know from which year. I agree that they should install them in old cars to because for one thing it's not healthy for the environment to always slow down/speed up. The second thing is that it is really annoying to be behind a car that doesn't hold the speed limit.

    Keep on bloging I really like your view on Sweden = )

  2. Thanks! Is it really in newer cars? I forgot to write about how we had cruise control in our used cars back in the 90's in New Jersey, so I have a hard time seeing Cruise control as being something new and jazzy. Ah well.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Vi har haft cruise control i alla våra bilar. Till och med i den som var från -89. Så jag tror mer det är en fråga om att folk är dåliga på att använda den.

  4. I bought a used Volvo V70 here in Sweden and it has cruise control. I think all the (used) cars we've bought in Sweden (three of them) have had it!

  5. Cruise control (farthållare in Swedish) is standard on pretty much all cars nowdays (except perhaps the really small or really cheap ones), but is started later than in the US during the 90thies I think.
    By the way I think the Swedish name wich litterally means Speed keper is less prone to dangerous missconception than the english 'Cruise control'.

  6. Seriously? I totally thought this has to be a Swedish thing, since our last 2 cars have been Fords. Hmm, maybe it is an extra add on? I will have to investigate this further. But even our old Audi didn't have it. Or did they have it and we just never found it? I mean, it is usually a button on the steering wheel - that is kind of hard to miss. But man, our cars aren't new, but they aren't that old either.

  7. Jo men cruise control finns väl på alla bilar numer. Det har vi iallafall haft på våra bilar minst de senaste 15 åren. Jag tycker att folk använder de ofta. Det ska nog finnas ska du se. Låter märkligt att det inte skulle göra det på din bil. Kan bli roligt om man kör med ordet för cruise control på svenska fast översätter till engelska (fart(c) kontroll)

  8. OK, I'm on a mission to find our cruise control, but then what is up with all of these crappy drivers? Grrr. I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Love the fartkontroll!

  9. Not all the cars have CC, it's usually an add-on even if more have it as standard. So no, all cars don't have them and yours might not.

    A rule of thumb is that most cars older then 2000 won't have CC as standard.