[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ife, they say, has no duplicate and confronted with the Volkswagen bus disaster which roasted scores of commuters along the Ibadan Expressway, penultimate Thursday evening; Ford Auto Company through Nigeria Auto Association, seem to have taken the bull by the horns to sensitize Nigerians about safe driving.
Ford is making this significant contribution to checkmate the incessant loss of lives on the Nigerian roads by promoting safe driving which is in line with its introduction of global Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) programme, an expertise training for vehicle drivers launched in South Africa in 2014 and introduced into Angola last year, 2015.
The life saving DSFL programme is bringing Ford’s sensibility to the importance of human lives in Sub-Saharan Africa, where most drivers are either too careless with their passengers and even self, or completely ignorant about rudimental techniques required in driving a vehicle.
According to Mr. Derek Kirkvy, Ford’s DSFL Training Director, South Africa, an estimated 40 to 45 deaths happen in South Africa daily through road accidents, which makes vehicles the most claimer of lives in that country; and perhaps in most part of Sub-Sahara Africa, Nigeria, of course not an exception.
The Driving Skill for Life training offers vehicle drivers rudimental knowledge about their vehicles before hitting the racetrack, starting from proper positioning of their car seats to adjust to chest level with the steering, to being foot flat on the clutch in a knee bent posture.
Trainees at the knowledge imparting DSFL also got tutorials concerning the role of car seats in preventing serious injuries during any misadventure.
Mr. Derek did not dabble with words, when he said categorically that the car seat headrest is the only thing that helps in preventing severe neck injury in an accident, advising that headrest should be raised to protect the head and unnecessary to be over stretched backward, referring to the situation where some frolic drivers experiment with their car seats, to almost making for themselves a relaxation bed.
“The seat belt should be worn within the upper shoulder and never to the neck; and putting it behind the back is not necessary.” He said.
The German born auto trainer who later displayed superb driving dexterity in the recently launched stylish, but cute Figo Hatchback also educated participants about the Airbag, which he defined as a Supplementary Restrained System (SRS) device, mentioning that most Ford Cars are different from others, because they come with 6 Airbags, that guarantees more driver-passenger safety in the occasion of mishap.
Other critical areas in a car touched by Derek also includes the Mirror, which he noted is the eye and vision which propels the driver’s smooth ride blind of it that can be very costly.
The DSFL training, which soon took to wheels at the race track with the 60km stopping distance test drive, saw both trainers and participants test skills in a Ford Focus, Ford Ranger and the luxuriant, but new Figo Hatch Back.
However, the Ford DSFL programme, if emulated by others will translate into more careful driving mentality by Nigerian drivers, who would also become well-informed about the vehicles they drive, instead of being mere animation in front of the wheels. Consequently, accidents will reduce drastically and the roads rid of roasted corpses.
The DSFL is a free, advanced driving skills tutorial and practical programme funded by the not-for-profit Ford Motor Company Fund, as an effective method of improving driving skills globally and so, contributing to road safety. Launched in the United States in 2003, DSFL has been improved and adapted to suit local conditions in many global markets over the years.
The Nigerian Auto Journalists’ Association, NAJA, the parasol body for all Nigerian journalists, covering the automobile and automotive industry, has already set a wise platform for its members to undergo annual skills improving training in driving. And Ford’s DSFL is hopeful to be instrumental to what might become NAJA’s annual culture.