PRETORIA, South Africa, 19 July 2022 – Launched in South Africa in 2010, Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) is Ford’s award-winning and free driver training programme, developed to raise the standard of safety among South African drivers while rewarding them with essential skills designed to raise the calibre of driving in the country.
DSFL training is conducted with a hands-on curriculum and the innovative programme is available as part of highlighting Ford’s commitment to promoting safety on the road.
“Safety continues to be a key priority for Ford and providing campaigns such as DSFL can only help reduce the number of road accidents, and increase drivers’ knowledge and confidence on the road,” says Derek Kirkby, Training Director at MasterDrive. “DSFL has grown from strength to strength both locally and internationally and continually adapts to the needs of the markets in which it operates”.
DSFL campaigns have created awareness regarding child car seat safety, hijack extraction, passenger safety, distracted driving, Euro NCAP performance, as well as demonstrating the dangers of drinking and driving – the latter done by using DSFL’s ‘Drunk Goggles’ which allows motorists to experience the alarming effects of impaired vision and judgement in a safe manner.
Ford DSFL has trained more than 1.5 million drivers in 46 countries to date, with an investment of over $60 million over 19 years. In South Africa, DSFL has successfully trained over 5000 drivers.
The local DSFL training programme focuses on five primary driving skills:
1) Hazard Recognition
In hazard recognition, the driver learns how to scan for hazards, especially during busy situations such as entering, and turning, at an intersection. Key safety zones at intersections are pointed out by the instructors and drivers are taught how to minimise distractions so as not to feel overwhelmed.
2) Vehicle Handling
Vehicle handling covers learning to control a vehicle’s balance and the forces acting upon it. Drivers will experience the effects acceleration and braking have on a vehicle’s stability, and driving techniques designed to transition between these changes smoothly. This training helps to maintain good grip and traction. DSFL also teaches drivers how to recover from a skid and the contrasting dynamics between front- and rear-wheel drive vehicles.
3) Space Management
South Africa’s increasingly busy road network makes space management a valuable defence against road accidents. Being aware of the space around a vehicle will lessen the chance of being rear-ended or having a head-on collision.
4) Speed Management
Excessive speed can endanger not only yourself, but those around you. DSFL instructors help demonstrate these dangerous and reckless driving habits while also showing how active driving aids, fitted to the vehicle, can be complemented by emergency driver techniques.
5) Distracted and Impaired Driving
One of the leading causes of collisions is drunk driving, which has a dramatic impact on the driver’s concentration levels, overall awareness, depth perception and peripheral vision, reaction times and reflexes. To prove the point, the DSFL team uses drunk goggles that simulate the dramatic effects of driving under the influence of alcohol. Using a cellphone while driving has also rapidly become one of the main contributors to traffic accidents, and the Ford DSFL programme highlights the shocking reality of how texting while driving costs lives.