Back in the late 80’s or early 90’s I was in a classroom made up of transportation safety professionals when a speaker announced he was going to show us a film that would teach us something new about driving. Immediately the “body language” in the room shifted, arms started to be folded across chests and a laid back position was adopted by most. We knew it all ….. nobody could teach us anything new at this point in our careers. We were the experts – didn’t you know?

I found the audience reaction fascinating. As the narrator went along you could see some shifting of position taking place and when he reached the “stinger statement”, you could see jaws actually dropping. Disbelief showed on the faces. Mumbling was heard throughout the room, arms dropped and people began to sit up straight. It was a true epiphany.

The narrator (race car driver – the late “Benny” Parsons) stated that Nick-2015this information was already fourteen years old at that time and that testing was continuing. Very few in the world knew anything about it and this French manufacturing organization was trying to freely spread to word to save lives. Today, over twenty-five years later, it is sad to say that the bulk of the driving population still don’t know its secret. Governmental driving manuals and tests (that I’m familiar with) totally ignore it still relying on information from the 40’s and 50’s. Thankfully, some professional drivers are beginning to get the picture but, there are many who refuse to believe.

The secret, in a nutshell, is this: “When a “blowout” or rapid loss of air in a tire occurs, the answer is under your right foot! No! Not the brake! Applying the brake is the worst thing you can do. No! Taking your foot off the accelerator is the second worst thing you can do! The real answer is, stepping ON the accelerator!” Wow! Do you believe that? Well, you’d better, because it’s true.

Based on physics, the narrator goes on to tell you why. Any sudden move, such as a blowout, creates a new sideways force on the vehicle that will increase if it is not corrected. The application of the accelerator puts power to the drive wheels which overcomes that sideways force, regaining the force to the direction you were going in the first place. Yes, the tire is now flat but the wheel is still rolling forward, a little bumpy as it might be. Once control has been regained, you can pick and choose where a safe place might be to slow down and pull off the road. The tire is already shot anyway and you might be able to still save the wheel if you can get off the road soon enough. Big Deal! If you can save lives, wheels can be replaced and done so much cheaper than an entire wrecked vehicle.

If this is new to you, I urge you to take ten minutes and watch a, now, old, film put out by Michelin Tire called; “The Critical Factor”. You can keep copies of it on your computer and share it as much as you can with your loved ones and friends (enemies, for that matter). The person coming towards you on the highway could be the one in need of this information, saving your life in the process.


RV Tires | Michelin’s online RV video learning center. | Michelin RV Tires

RV Tire Videos, RV Tire Training Videos and More. Watch helpful tips and demos, and learn about motorhomes, campers and RV tires from the Michelinexperts. … RV: The Critical Factor … 2014 Michelin North America Inc. All rights reserved.

Keep your people safe.

The beauty of life is in your hands.

About the Author

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council.

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