The technology one is faced with when behind the wheel of a vehicle may be getting more and more advanced, but Ford Motor Company is taking it back to basics for the Ford Driving Skills for Life tour. The program helps new drivers stay safe by providing instruction using time-tested techniques.
Ford’s signature safe driving program, now in its 14th year, focuses on key factors influencing teen crashes—vehicle handling, hazard recognition, speed management and space management, distraction and impairment—all potentially life-saving skills that, while rudimentary, often fall by the wayside in these days of increased technology.
“Driving safely is not about downloading the latest app,” said Ford Driving Skills for Life Global Manager, James Graham. “We look forward to expanding our efforts to help reduce the number of crashes and fatalities through teaching real-world training and improved decision-making skills. Working with all of our partner organizations in 35 countries, we believe we are making a substantial contribution to safer driving.”
The crux of the award-winning program is the free ride-and-drive courses pairing newly licensed drivers with professional driving instructors, but Ford’s drugged and drunk driving suits are also used to simulate the dangers of impaired and distracted driving. And new this year is a set of virtual reality training tools that can simulate new drivers navigating traffic circles, pedestrians and cyclists.
Furthermore, many organizations that serve teens nationwide will incorporate the web-based curriculum “The Academy” into their programs, and grants will be provided to states to focus on latest issues facing drivers.
Also this year, special emphasis is being placed on instruction for drivers ages 18–20, who are involved in more fatal crashes than younger teens. Still, teen drivers in general are 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults 35–40, according to a recently released report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which is partnering with Ford on the program.
“Despite progress in recent years, teens continue to be overrepresented in motor vehicle crashes and fatalities across the country,” said GHSA Executive Director, Jonathan Adkins. “For this reason, the association and the State Highway Safety Office are looking forward to bringing this powerful program to even more teens and their parents—coast to coast and around the globe.”
Ford Driving Skills for Life’s 2017 tour will make stops in 15 U.S. markets this year, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as more than 150 markets worldwide. Since 2003, the program has provided free hands-on driver training to more than 1 million freshly licensed drivers around the globe, equating to an investment of more than $40 million on Ford’s behalf.
For more information on Ford Driving Skills for Life, including tour dates and stops, visit www.drivingskillsforlife.com.
This article is presented by Olathe Ford Lincoln in Olathe, Kansas.