Ford Middle East last week joined forces with the Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE’s largest applied higher education institution, to deliver life-saving expertise to students aged between 18 and 24, providing crucial experience behind the wheel in a safe environment.

Taking place at Higher Colleges of Technology’s Sharjah Men’s campus over four days from November 20-23, 2017, in Sharjah’s University City, Ford’s Driving Skills for Life sessions focused on the areas that pose the most problems for young drivers – hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed and space management, and the dangers of driving distracted or impaired.

Earlier this year, Ford also introduced nighttime driving into the programme for the first time. Driving conditions are remarkably different and often notoriously difficult at night, when vision is reduced, hindering an ability to spot hazards, junctions, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Of the three stations, following a safety briefing, the Ford Focus demonstrated steps to take in recovering from, and even preventing, a slide, highlighting the importance of control and calm in potentially dangerous situations.

The Ford Mustang GT was on hand for the students to get to grips with emergency braking techniques, speed manoeuvres and scanning the road ahead in preparation for unexpected hazards.

And lastly, Ford’s specially-designed impaired vision glasses, used in the Ford Escape driving activity, showed young academics just how compromised driving ability becomes due to fatigue or being under the influence of medication.

“Driving Skills for Life is a key initiative for us here in the Middle East and we are proud to offer it in this region for nearly five consecutive years,” said Thierry Sabbagh, managing
director of Ford Middle East.

“Safety continues to be a key priority to Ford, and providing campaigns such as DSFL can only help reduce the number of road accidents, and increase young drivers’ knowledge and confidence on the road.”

Ford Motor Company has established an overwhelmingly positive response from students at Higher Colleges of Technology Sharjah Men’s campus, who now feel more confident on the road having received the hands-on driver training, with professional driving instructors, as part of the award-winning Driving Skills for Life programme.​

“This initiative has been very helpful. It has taught me how to control my vehicle in dangerous situations,” said Marwan Al Ali, and Electrical Engineering student at Higher Colleges of Technology Sharjah Men’s campus.

“Especially for us, as students, who always have to go through traffic to get to class in the morning, it was great fun, and we are definitely looking forward to more activities like this from Ford in the future.”

Globally, around 1.25 million people lose their lives in road accidents each year, while between 20 and 50 million others suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a disability.

World Health Organisation’s statistics indicate that the vast majority of traffic accident victims are young people, and that road accidents represent the second largest cause of death in the world for the 15-29 age group.​

Now in its 14th year, Ford Driving Skills for Life has provided free training to more than one million newly-licenced drivers in 35 countries, which equates to an investment of more than $40 million, highlighting Ford’s commitment to promoting safety on the road.

In 2013, Ford debuted the programme in the Middle East, and has since trained more than 3,600 students across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.​

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