Ford Driving Skills for Life: Training Our Drivers

  Colin Windell


 20 Jul, 2022

The Ford Driving Skills for Life initiative seeks to promote safety on the roads and safe driving habits.

South African road crash statistics are beyond horrific. Despite intervention attempts from the government and its ministers, poor driving and the lack of law enforcement on the roads remain unresolved problems.

It is left up to the private sector to try and make inroads – one of which is the Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) initiative, launched in 2010.

The free driver training programme developed to promote safe driving on South African roads and equip drivers with essential skills is a practical hands-on training programme.

“Safety continues to be a key priority for Ford and providing campaigns such as DSFL can only help reduce the number of road accidents and increase drivers’ knowledge and confidence on the road,” says Derek Kirkby, Training Director at MasterDrive. “DSFL has grown from strength to strength both locally and internationally and continually adapts to the needs of the markets in which it operates”.

Ford DSFL campaigns are focused on creating awareness around child car seat safety, hijack extraction, passenger safety, distracted driving and Euro NCAP performance. South Africa's biggest problem, drinking and driving, is tackled through Drunk Goggles. The function allows motorists to experience the effects of impaired vision and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Ford DSFL has trained more than 1,5 million drivers in 46 countries, with an investment exceeding $ 60 million over 19 years. In South Africa, DSFL has successfully trained 5 000 drivers.

The local DSFL training programme focuses on five primary driving skills:

1) Hazard Recognition

The hazard recognition lesson teaches drivers how to scan for hazards, especially at intersections. The instructors point out key safety zones and teach drivers how to minimise distractions.

2) Vehicle Handling

Vehicle handling covers learning to control the balance of the car and the forces acting upon it. Drivers will experience the effects of acceleration and braking on stability and driving techniques designed to transition between these changes smoothly. This training helps to maintain a good grip and traction and teaches drivers how to recover from a skid and the contrasting dynamics between front- and rear-wheel drive vehicles.

3) Space Management

The increasingly busy road network in South Africa makes space management a valuable defence against road accidents. Awareness of the space around a vehicle will lessen the chance of being rear-ended or having a head-on collision. 

4) Speed Management

Excessive speed can endanger not only yourself but those around you. DSFL instructors focus on dangerous and reckless driving habits and the importance of matching active vehicle driving aids and emergency driver techniques.

5) Distracted and Impaired Driving

One of the leading causes of collisions is drunk driving. The behaviour distorts concentration levels, overall awareness, depth perception and peripheral vision, reaction times and reflexes. To prove the point, the DSFL team uses drunk goggles that simulate the dramatic effects of driving under the influence of alcohol. Using a cell phone while driving has also rapidly become one of the main contributors to traffic accidents, and the Ford DSFL programme highlights the shocking reality of how texting while driving costs lives.

To register for the next DSFL course in your area, or for more information, contact Vanessa Monyepao at [email protected] or visit

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