|Topics: Ford Motor Company
July 7, 2010
Ford Driving Skills for Life has reached over 300,000 teens, parents and teachers since it's creation in 2003. It's a national safety initiative aimed at teenagers who have received or are about to receive a driver's license. The complete program includes a video, preview activity for students to complete before viewing the video, an online quiz, brochures and a take-home letter for students to give to their parents. Ford Driving Skills for Life was developed by national safety experts and is designed to teach students skills that are needed for safe driving that goes beyond what they learn in regular driver's education classes. According to Ford Driving Skills for Life, vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teenagers in America. Follow these safe driving tips supported by your local Ford dealer to ensure you or a friend do not become part of this horrifying statistic.
• Always wear your seat belt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 31,693 passenger vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes in 2004 and 55% were not wearing their seat belt. It's a law in every state (except New Hampshire) to wear a seat belt so not only can you be terribly hurt in an accident, but you can also be ticketed if you are seen driving without one. People give a variety of excuses for not wearing seat belts ranging from "crashes are rare events" to "I'm not going that far." However, what people don't realize are that for every excuse there is an explanation that will derail it. In fact, to derail the two previous excuses, crashes are not rare, every day 36,7000 crashes occur, and three out of four fatal crashes occur within 25 miles from the home. There's absolutely no good reason why you shouldn't wear a seat belt, so wear one every time you drive, and insist that others wear them too.
• Never drink and drive. More than a third of all fatal teen car accidents involve alcohol and it's illegal and extremely reckless and dangerous to drive while intoxicated. Even in small amounts, alcohol affects driver performance by slowing reaction time, unfavorably affecting hazard perception, vision and also increasing confidence and decreasing inhibitions. According to Ford Driving Skills for Life, raising the minimum drinking age to 21 has saved over 21,000 lives since 1975. Drivers are less likely to wear seat belts while drinking, in fact 77% of teen drivers who were killed in drinking and driving related car accidents were not wearing a seat belt. Drinking and driving is a huge problem among teens, don't become a statistic, never drink and drive.
• Check tires every day before driving. Safely operating your car requires that the tires are properly inflated. A tire can lose up to half of it's air pressure and look fine. This is why it's so important to check the air pressure in your tires before driving every day. When a tire is not inflated correctly, it can cause a blowout, which will result in a loss of vehicle control and an accident that can leave you and others seriously injured.
• Slow down. Never go over the speed limit while driving in normal conditions. When driving in poor conditions such as rain or snow, that require your windshield wipers to be on, driving slower is a good idea because your visibility and traction has decreased so it is harder to stop when needed. When it's dark outside, visibility decreases, so driving slower will give you more time to react if something were to run out in front of your car, like a deer or a car you couldn't see. If you're driving in a hilly area or on winding roads, you should slow down because you cannot see what's around the corner and it's easier to lose control of the vehicle when you're going fast on winding or hilly roads. Also when there is an increase in traffic, you have less space and therefore you should slow down. You never know when a car is going to need to slam on their breaks or change lanes in front of you and if you're going too fast, there's a greater risk of having an accident.
• Get rid of potential distractions. Driving needs your full attention and distractions like the CD player, cell phones and passengers can take your attention away from driving and dramatically increase your risk of having an accident. Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that teen drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a distraction-related crash than any other age group. Avoid distractions by staying off your cell phone while driving, keeping your passengers to a minimum and choosing a CD or radio station to listen to before you leave the driveway.
Following these tips provided by Ford Driving Skills for Life will help you become a better, safer driver. New drivers are especially susceptible to accidents because they lack experience. Don't allow yourself or a friend to become a teen car accident victim. Keep these tips in mind every day while driving, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, pay attention to what's around you and share these tips with others. They may save your life.