My daughter is about to turn 15 and get her driver’s permit. Instead of getting in the fetal position about it, I’m gearing up by educating myself on what we can do to make her a skilled, comfortable driver. There are tons of resources available, and one of these is proving beneficial training and education for teen and parents is the Ford Driving Skills for Life.
Did you know that May is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month? Me either! So there’s a big push this month to increase youth safety on the roads. In the blink of an eye, your kiddo goes from pretend driving to real driving like this:
The Driving Skills for Life Program
Ford Driving Skills for Life is a FREE, comprehensive program designed to make newly-licensed drivers safer on the roads and to give parents the resources they need to help their teens gain some of the most important skills they will ever need. Established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts, Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) was created “to teach newly licensed teens the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs. The basic premise behind Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process, providing new skills and information not currently shared with newly licensed drivers in the basic driver education courses.” Hey, anytime my kid can get more information on driving skills, I’m all for that!
Training is conducted in both hands-on and web-based curriculum and the entire program is available at no cost. Training conducted under the Ford Driving Skills for Life program addresses both the inexperience factor as well as issues surrounding distracted driving. The program has had outstanding results and feedback during its ten years. The goal is to have both teens and parents participate in the instruction together.
Ford DSFL is a FREE comprehensive program that includes learning tools such as:
- Ride-and-drives where teens get behind the wheel and go through exercises on the four Ford DSFL skills. These are great opportunities for teens to gain experience, with a professional instructor at their side, in the four primary skills – Hazard Recognition, Vehicle Handling, Speed Management and Space Management. Check the calendar to see if a program is coming to a city near you.
- Web site includes the main learning area called The Academy, car care videos, several interactive games, and enhanced curriculum noting the importance of eco-driving to personal safety and the environment.
- Electronic Educator packet that can be used by students and parents at home, as well as educators in the classroom and community settings. This FREE packet includes an in-depth video concentrating on each of our four driving skills, a letter for parents, a letter for educators, a leader’s guide and brochures. To download materials, click here.
Already I’m appreciating the The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program guide. It is an extremely useful tool designed to ensure parents are giving their teens the proper information.
An intriguing component of the training includes a Drugged Driving Suit, which is designed to show drivers the dangers of driving under the influence of illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin. According to NHTSA, approximately 18 percent of all motor vehicle driver deaths involve drugs other than alcohol, such as marijuana and cocaine. Here’s a graphic with the elements of the suit:
Take the Pledge with Your Teen
Don’t just talk the talk. Put pen to paper and take the pledge together to abide by these basic, yet potentially life-saving rules when driving or riding in a car.
I Pledge to:
1. Drive safely for myself, my friends, my family and for the safety of others.
2. Wear my safety belt and have my passengers wear their safety belts at all times.
3. Limit distractions. As a novice driver:
- I will not use my cell phone while driving.
- I will not text or use any other handheld devices when driving.
- I will keep music at a reasonable level.
4. Follow the posted speed limit and adjust my speed if required by weather conditions; obey all traffic laws.
5. Not operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
6. Never have too many passengers in my vehicle.
7. Speak up each time I ride with friends and feel unsafe.
You can even sign your own pledge cards and keep them as handy reminders.
Here’s a brief video overviewing the program:
So as you can see, Ford Driving Skills for Life encourages both parents and teens to work together using the resources available on this site. I’m looking forward to watching the Academy training videos with my teen. (It’s been a while since I took driver’s ed, so I may need a refresher!) I feel certain I will learn something new.
Whether Ford Driving Skills for Life comes to my state or not, I am planning to use as much of it as I can to benefit my teen. If I followed all safety measures that I could to keep her safe in the car at age 4, then don’t you think I would do everything I could to make her prepared for when she drives with me and eventually solo at 15? After all, she’s always be my little girl…
Just so we’re clear: I found out about this program because Ford was a sponsor of our TravelingMom.com retreat in Orlando. But the program interested me so much that I wanted to share the information with you. I was not compensated by Ford in writing this post.
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