- Parental involvement

Ford Raises Safety Awareness Among Teen Drivers – Driving Skills For Life Program

The Ford Motor Company has a vested interest in keeping new and young drivers safe on the road through its Driving Skills for Life program. Teenagers, parents, educators and driving training schools all can benefit from free materials provided by the Ford Motor Company to insure new drivers are ready to handle a variety of road conditions and situations.

A study completed in July 2002 by Ford Motor Company found that young drivers (under 18) were more likely to have poor judgment, poor vehicle control and greater distractions when asked to complete eight tasks while driving (in a driving simulator), and six of the eight tasks included cell phone use. Since handheld and hands-free cell phones and electronic devices are very popular among teenagers, these were the areas that Ford targeted its research on the effects of their use while driving. Furthermore, most driver education programs neither offer this type of training nor do they teach the skills for driving in various road conditions.

As a result of the study, Ford recommends revising driver education programs to strongly discourage the use of hand-held phones by teens across the country. Although several states have now incorporated a law to disallow text messaging or hand-held cell phone use by teens, many states have not done so. The driving laws in Ohio have changed, notably the greater Cleveland area regarding use of cell phones or texting while driving.

Visitors to the Ford Driving Skills for Life website will find a vast and comprehensive amount of information online. All the information is free to download for parents, teens, teachers, and driver education programs. Ford recognizes the need for parental involvement regarding the safety and driver training for their teenagers, so Ford has a special letter just for parents “Driving Skills For Life Parent Letter,” which comes in an easy to download PDF format under the Education Materials section on DrivingSkillsForLife.com.

Teenagers who actively take responsibility in completing the additional training suggested by Ford, will likely “prevent more than 60 percent of teen vehicle crashes,” according to DrivingSkillsForLife.com. Almost 5,000 teens die due to vehicle accidents each year, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and are also the number one killer of teens in the U.S. The more driver training and experience a teenager has, the less likely they will be involved in vehicle crashes.

Ford highlights four key driving skills that include Speed Management, Space Management, Hazard Recognition and Vehicle Handling. Each component has several key skills to master as indicated below.

Speed Management
Driving at a speed that doesn’t endanger other drivers
How to recover from skids in front- and rear-wheel drive vehicles
Using proper signals and covering the brake

Space Management
Maintain space around, ahead and behind a vehicle
Learn how to adjust speed
Maintain a safe distance between vehicles while driving
Learn how to avoid being rear-ended and avoiding a head-on crash

Hazard Recognition
How to scan for trouble
Minimize distractions
Safety zones
Minimum vision lead time
Approaching and turning left at intersections

Vehicle Handling
How acceleration, deceleration, braking and turns affect vehicle balance
Adjusting to a vehicle’s size and weight
Conventional braking systems versus anti-lock braking systems
Emergency braking techniques

Teen drivers will also find an interactive section on Ford’s Driving Skills for Life website that includes study modules, a quiz, car care videos, interactive driving games as well as eco-driving tips. Other opportunities for new drivers are the “Ride and Drives.” Professional instructors give invaluable insight, experience and education how to succeed in Ford’s primary skill levels: Speed Management, Space Management, Hazard Recognition and Vehicle Handling. Learn more about the Driving Skills for Life safety driving program at DrivingSkillsForLife.com, where safety is number one for teens and all drivers.