Ford Middle East, in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Road & Transport Authority, is conducting the Ford Driving Skills for Life programme in the UAE. It is the first time that it is being held in the GCC.
First started in the United States a decade ago, the free programme is designed to pass on some safe driving practices to younger drivers to help improve their road safety record. Quoting a World Health Organisation report, Ford says that UAE drivers are 7 times more likely to be killed on the road than in Britain. According to the WHO, apparently the UAE has the worst road-death statistics in the GCC relative to population size. Who would’ve thought we’d beat Saudi Arabia?
The Ford Driving Skills for Life programme will visit three universities across the UAE over the next few weeks, and professional instructors will demonstrate special skills and give tips on safe driving practices using Ford vehicles. The training goes further than the lessons that students learn in standard driving lessons, and is very hands-on with wheel-time.
Ford Driving Skills for Life addresses four key areas that could cause vehicle accidents. These include distractions, hazard recognition, wet-weather vehicle handling, road-space management and speed management. Students participating the UAE programme, will get the chance to try these techniques while driving the new Focus, Mustang V6 and Edge models.
The first activity involves doing a powersliding U-turn with a Mustang that’s riding on plastic rear tyres. The aim is to catch the slide before you spin out. It’s simulating rain driving.
The second exercise involves driving a Ford Focus around a coned course while wearing “beer” goggles, where you wear goggles that completely messes up your view, and you have to drive around the course, with an instructor watching over you of course. This simulates driving while drunk, tired or under medication.
The third activity involves simply driving a Ford Edge around a simple tight course while the instructor is distracting you from the passenger seat by chatting you up. Then at the end, he tells you how many mistakes you made in following the course because you missed the directional clues.
We weren’t expecting much, but it was a rather entertaining event that we’d recommend to all those hang around the Dubai Academic City area to try out. It is free and generally aimed at college students with driving licences. This first event runs for 3 days, February 3 to 5, from 10 am to 4 pm. Later it will move on to the American University of Sharjah and then to Abu Dhabi.