Driving is one of the everyday tasks we enjoyed without a second thought in the days before the pandemic. With mobility curtailed by pandemic restrictions, driving anywhere now needs thought and careful planning. And with all but the necessary driving curtailed, a lot of drivers are rusty, unsure, and perhaps distracted by the overall situation.
Ford Motor Philippines has chosen the most appropriate time, then, to re-introduce its pioneering Driving Skills for Life series. Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) is a series of workshops designed to inculcate safe driving habits in drivers with any level of experience. This year’s first DSFL seminar, dubbed “Safe Driving in the New Normal”, was conducted online, with J. P. Tuason of Tuason Racing School providing his usual insightful and practical tips on staying safe while on the road.
Probably one of the tasks that has become forgotten by many is the regular self-checking of the vehicle. Ford DFSL reminded participants that there are items one must check each time before powering up the car. These include: checking under the car for leaks; checking tire pressure; securing loose objects; check fuel, water and oil indicators; and inspecting windshield wipers and lights. Positioning the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and mirrors is also of utmost importance. Monthly checks include closer checking of the tires for pressure and tread wear, and also the battery and battery connectors for corrosion.
Extra precautions are of utmost importance during the pandemic. These include: cleaning and sanitizing your car, practicing social distancing between passengers whenever possible, and keeping extra face masks and face shields in the car. For cars that are seldom driven, you have to charge the battery and prevent parts getting stuck by driving them a short distance. Ford DFSL also recommends for cars that will be parked for a long time: don’t store fuel for a long time, don’t engage the parking brake, and don’t leave alcohol or hand sanitizer if the car is parked under direct sunlight or in a hot place.
Many drivers may have become rusty due to infrequent trips, so it’s important to remember the fundamentals. Of primary importance: awareness of the surroundings by looking ahead, keeping a safe distance to allow sufficient reaction time, and watching your speed. Following the rules of the road, such as signaling before a turn or lane change, and observing right of way and road signs, is also crucial. Avoid steering sharply and steering when braking heavily.
It’s been said that the driver is the most important safety device in the vehicle. With that, he or she should always stay alert, cool, and collected. Important DON’Ts: Don’t accelerate and brake abruptly, don’t weave in and out of traffic, don’t assume that the other driver will stop for you, and don’t lose your temper.
“We are excited to bring the DSFL back this year as part of our Global Caring Month, bringing to life our long-standing advocacy on road safety on the digital platform,” shares EJ Francisco, AVP for Communications, Ford Philippines. “This year, we are making the DSFL a more relevant training program for our participants by sharing the necessary driving habits and skills as they navigate the roads in the ‘new normal’.”
DSFL sessions will be open to public participation. Visit Ford Philippines’ Facebook page for more updates.