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The Michelin ManTHE ROCK FATHER™ has partnered with Life of Dad and Michelin for the #FirstCarMoment promotion.  He has been paid for his participation, but his memories and former mullet are priceless, and solely his own.

My lifelong love of vehicles often springs up around these parts, and it’s something that I’ve certainly been sharing with The Rock Daughters™. My little ones’ interest in all-things wheeled is what really made me start writing about the subject so often – both in terms of “grownup” rides and things more their speed – like Hot Wheels. While their time for a proper set of keys is still many years down the road, my wife and I have already been thinking of that milestone – just like my friends at Michelin. As a tire manufacturer with over 125 years on the road, they feel obligated to raise awareness and help reduce the 264,000 crashes that occur annually due to tire-related issues on cars piloted by inexperienced drivers. Do you remember your first car? I certainly remember mine…

1984 Ford EXP - Stealth ModeMy first ride was a 1984 Ford EXP that I owned for about six months back in 1993. That little two-seater felt so right when I bought it, but it was over-priced (I believe $1,400) and started falling apart almost immediately. We had some adventures, though – and believe me when I tell you that the two-seat hatchback did, at times transport significantly more than two people… in quite uncomfortable configurations. It was a different time for sure, and only one picture is known to exist of that vehicle – an accidental shot that captured it parked on the street outside of my bedroom. Speaking of my bedroom, look at this metallic craziness:

Metal Bedroom

By the time that picture was taken, I was already onto car #2 – my legendary 1989 Mercury Cougar Brougham. Metallic Midnight Blue with silver wire wheels, whitewall tires, a half-rag top with gold trim. How did I come to own such pimp-tastic ride? It belonged to my dad, and after my Ford crapped out, he decided to get a new car, and I took over the Mercury. This Mercury…

1989 Mercury Cougar Brougham

Now, you might wonder what was going on in that picture, aside from the fact that I was perhaps living the rock and roll dream by the spring of 1994, and was wearing a Michael Knight-style leather jacket while my friend Phil popped out of the sunroof? It’s all classified, but I subsequently drove that car into the 200K range and got rid of in 97 or 98. In fact, when I started dating my wife, that was my car.

Even before those rides that I called “my own,” I remember the vehicles my parents drove – 1973 Dodge Charger, 1978 Lincoln Continental, 1980-is Mercury Marquis, 1983 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1984 Lincoln Town Car – it was an interesting and memorable mix (the Grand Prix was actually crashed into by a race car – story for another time).

Behold... the glory of The Michelin Man!So how to help avoid crashes of your own? Start with the tires, as the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are some of the worst when it comes to statistics for teen drivers, but in general, summer time (road trips!) is the perfect time to check your tires – whether it’s your first car or your 50th. Michelin has a whole section of their website dedicated to keeping cars safe. Need some cold, hard facts?

  • Auto accidents are the number one killer of teens in America – over 5,000 deaths annually.
  • 12% of the 2.2 million accidents that occur each year with inexperienced drivers are due to tire-related issues (26% are attributed to low tread depth; 32% are attributed to improper tire pressure).

So please, check the tires, and make sure that the #FirstCarMoment and every moment after is as safe as it can possibly be.

Learn more at MichelinMan.com

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