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Ford Driving Skills for Life initiative provides free road safety training to over 400 Saudi students in four days

Ford Philanthropy, formerly known as the Ford Fund, has successfully relaunched its renowned Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, training 459 students at King Saud University in Riyadh. Now in its 21st year globally, the DSFL initiative has provided free driving training to newly licensed drivers in over 40 countries, with approximately 5,000 participants in the Middle East since 2013.

The DSFL program pairs new drivers with professional instructors to enhance five critical driving skills essential for avoiding accidents: hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed management, space management, and managing distractions and impaired driving.

“Our purpose is to contribute to building a better world and improving the lives of our people, the communities we call home, and the planet we all share. Unfortunately, road safety remains a critical challenge, here in the Middle East and worldwide,” said Rasha Ghanem, Communications Director, Ford Middle East. She highlighted the vulnerability of young drivers, noting that individuals aged 19-29 accounted for 38% of fatalities and 36% of injuries in the UAE in 2023.

Through initiatives like DSFL, Ford aims to reduce these numbers by improving the knowledge and confidence of young drivers, instilling safe driving habits and skills early for a lifetime of safe driving. Suhail Jefferies, a professional driving instructor with over three decades of motorsports experience, emphasized the value of DSFL: “The instructors at DSFL bring years of experience from major racetracks. We’ve integrated elements of safe and defensive driving courses into DSFL.”

The DSFL modules cover a wide range of driving skills, from basic techniques like acceleration, braking, signaling, emergency braking, and steering grip, to more advanced skills such as blind spot management and reverse parking. Comprehensive instruction on safety practices, including the dangers of texting while driving and impaired driving, is also provided.

Khalid Alajmi, Director of Public Relations and Media at King Saud University, praised the program's interactive approach: “Our students appreciated the engaging nature of DSFL, which blended instruction with hands-on activities aimed at building safety awareness. We thank Ford and the professional instructors for a memorable and important day of learning.”

Student testimonials underscored the program's impact. Weam Almuaither, a third-year French major, appreciated the focus on the dangers of texting and impaired driving, while first-year law student Nasser highlighted the importance of seat belt use and observing safety rules. Both students felt the program helped them become more responsible drivers.

Since 2015, Ford Philanthropy has granted nearly $1.4 million across the Middle East for disaster relief and community support through initiatives like DSFL and the Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy. These efforts are part of Ford’s broader commitment to supporting communities in need, including the elderly, children with cancer, and people with special needs, particularly during Global Caring Month.

Ford Philanthropy's ongoing efforts to promote road safety and community support continue to make a significant impact in the Middle East, helping to build safer and more resilient communities.

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