Life is a highway, and Tom Cochrane’s best-known and most oft-played song has been riding it since it appeared on 1991’s Mad Mad World.

But Life Is A Highway is a song bigger than one man, or even one group. As country boy band Rascal Flatts discovered when they covered the song for the soundtrack of this summer’s Disney Pixar flick Cars.

The Rascal Flatt’s cover became such a big hit, it actually eclipsed the album that the band released shortly before the film came out.

“As soon as they release the (Cars) DVD, the band is going to re-release the album, with Life Is A Highway on it,” Cochrane said. “The Cars soundtrack was stealing some thunder from their album.”

While Cochrane says he’s lucky to have written “one of the quintessential road songs,” Life Is A Highway was actually inspired by his first visit to West Africa to raise money and awareness for World Vision famine relief efforts.

“To me, the song came out of my first trip to Africa, the Mozambique experience in particular, and how powerful that experience was,”Cochrane said.

“Seeing someone die of starvation in front of me the first time was pretty disturbing, it was pretty powerful.”

He sat down to pen Life Is A Highway a few weeks after his return. The song would go on to become a No. 1 hit in Canada, and peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. “It was sort of my pep talk to myself,” Cochrane said.

“You can’t change the world on your own in one fell swoop, but you keep the eyes on the road in front of you and do whatever you can. It causes a ripple effect, and you can change things bit by bit that way.”