Jan 3, 2011 8:32 PM by Zach Thaxton
"Don't. Lock. Up. The. Tires." Those five staccato words are the main advice from MasterDrive's Ronn Langford in reaction to video of a 20-car pileup on South Carefree Circle last Thursday that went viral on YouTube, racking up nearly half a million views in just four days.
The cell phone video, shot by 20-year-old Mitchell High School graduate Ian Smith, is not only generating attention for its entertainment value, but also for its educational value. Langford says driver after driver made the mistake of locking the brakes as they came down a hill covered in snow and ice. "Stay off the brakes and you try to guide your way through that kind of situation," Langford said. Although instinct would seem to dictate pressing the brake when out-of-control, Langford says that is the wrong thing to do. Instead, remove your feet from all pedals and attempt to steer your way to safety. "In a slick road condition, just understand: 'If I touch my brakes, they are probably going to lock up," Langford said. "A lot of people will say, especially coming down a hill in ice, 'I've got to slow down.' No, slowing down is not the objective."
As for Smith, he's hoping to parlay the notoriety from his viral video into a career in music production. "Fame? I think I'll be okay with fame if it's in my future," Smith said. He also hopes people will learn something by watching the mistakes of others in his video. "If, by this video, I taught some people that you should be more careful when you're driving and be more cautious, and not panic so much and not slam on the brakes as much, that'd be really nice if something positive like that comes out of it," said Smith.