Bob Montondo, owner and founder of A-1 Driver Training School, is perhaps South Carolina’s most qualified driving instructor. He is certified by both the South Carolina Department of Education and The South Carolina Department of Transportation as a driver training instructor and is also certified by the National Safety Council and the AAA as a defensive driving instructor. Montondo has been actively involved in traffic safety education since 1974 and has logged over 20,000 hours of in car instructional experience.
Obviously qualified in traffic safety and driver education, Montondo recently found himself in a somewhat different setting when he climbed behind the wheel of a NASCAR race car at the Charlotte Motor Speedway while he was attending the Richard Petty Driving School. Although never a real racing fan, Montondo does admit to a fascination with race car drivers: “My impression of them was that they had a lot of guts, but probably not a lot of brains!” After turning a few laps at 130 mph, Montondo now acknowledges race car drivers as “undoubtedly the greatest drivers in the world! I never really appreciated the intense level of concentration and skill that are required to drive a race car.”
Exactly what lessons did Montondo learn at the Charlotte Motor Speedway that he now plans to incorporate into his driver training classes? “That’s easy,” he says, “whether you’re driving on the Charlotte track or Two Notch Road, there exists one constant factor affecting your ability to control your car – the Laws of Physics.” While most licensed drivers know the basic traffic rules, few understand the natural laws and physical forces that affect a moving vehicle.<!> Race car drivers fully understand and consider the principles of physics which influence vehicle control, especially during cornering. They realize the higher their speed entering a curve, the stronger the lateral forces pushing the car outward during the curve. Sudden deceleration or braking in a curve can easily result in loss of control by dramatically transferring weight to the front tires of the vehicle. This sudden weight transfer unbalances the car, thus reducing the traction of the back tires and may cause the rear of the car to “break loose,” thereby putting the vehicle into a spin. When the driver loses control of the vehicle, Mother Nature then takes over!
Article reprint (The State)