Defensive Driving Tips from Ford’s Driving Skills for Life

By Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason Philippine Daily Inquirer August 28,2019

From left, JP Tuason, PK Umashankar, David Guison, Bianca Gonzales, EJ Francisco, and Herbert Haber

Last Aug. 24, Ford Philippines launched the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program, one of its most significant corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs bringing to life its long-standing advocacy on road safety.

The United Nations-recognized training program, the DSFL is now on its 12th year in the Philippines, and has successfully trained over 23,000 Filipino drivers since 2008. Over the years, the program has made itself relevant to the changing road conditions, policies, and government regulations. This year Bianca Gonzales-Intal lends her star power to create more awareness of the program.

Working together with long-time partner Tuason Racing School, Ford provides an immersive and interactive training experience in its DSFL sessions. DSFL participants are provided with useful tips on vehicle maintenance, road safety measures, and fuel-efficient driving skills.

So what does DSFL teach? It is focused on helping eliminate road accidents, road altercations, and traffic congestion. The DSFL addresses the root cause of these road issues by educating drivers on basic road courtesy, safe driving techniques, and traffic signs and regulations.

Here are some of the tips discussed by Tuason Racing’s CEO JP Tuason during the road safety workshop.

1. Try to plan and combine trips to ensure the shortest distance and avoidance of traffic.

2. Keep engine RPMs to a minimum and shift to a higher gear as quickly as possible (2,500 rpm for gas and 2,200 rpm for diesel). Low RPMs and high speeds give excellent fuel economy.

3. Maintain your vehicle regularly to ensure fuel is always optimally burned by the engine.

4. Use your seatbelt even if sitting in the back seats. Unbelted rear sitting passengers can cause more injuries.

5. To keep within the speed limit, you must first know what it is. Online apps like Waze show speed limits per area you drive, and can be set to alarm when driving too fast.

6. Using your mobile phone has quickly become a significant cause of motor accidents. Always come to a stop at the shoulder if you must pick up a call or use an integrated hands-free system.

7. At night, always look for other cars to follow to keep the burden of seeing danger with the vehicle in front.

8. In heavy rain, don’t use your hazard lights… you lose the ability to use your signal lights to tell people where you are going. If visibility becomes a problem, then park on the shoulder and wait it out while turning on your hazard lights to inform people you have stopped.

DSFL participants from motoring media, Muntinlupa transport groups, students, and Ford customers.

9. Check your tire pressure once a week at the gas station. The attendant does it for free! Avoid using your mata-meter…. it usually isn’t very accurate.

10. Get educated. Find out programs that can teach you to become a better driver like DSFL, which is offered for free.

This year, the DSFL is aiming to cover 2,500 participants composed of student and private drivers, public utility drivers such as jeepney, bus, and school bus drivers, drivers from fleet partner companies, traffic regulators, and call center employees in key areas in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. DSFL started to roll out in the Visayas and Mindanao in 2017.

“One of our commitments at Ford is to help promote and improve road safety in the country. Our aim every year is to increase driver safety awareness with the DSFL, practicing the proper skills required of anybody who gets behind the wheel, and ensuring that drivers and their passengers get to their destinations safely all the time,” shares EJ Francisco, director for Communications, Ford Philippines.

Driving Skills for Life was established in the United States in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the United States Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts, to teach newly-licensed drivers the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what is learned in standard driver education programs.

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