CHENNAI, India — On a beautiful December morning Ali Akbar, manager, Functional College, Ford Business Services Center, and a few of his friends were on their way to Koli Hills - a mountain range about 400 kilometers from Chennai. Driving alongside a scenic route, equipped with good music and great company, they were all set to have a wonderful weekend. After a few hours of driving, they switched drivers, and Akbar took charge of the Ford Classic.
It was a smooth drive on a free highway for Akbar until it started drizzling and visibility became low. All of a sudden, Akbar spotted a double trailer about 100 meters ahead. The 20-wheeled vehicle, laden to the brim with sugarcane, was attempting to take a U - turn from the other direction through a small break in the median. Such situations are bound to throw even veteran drivers off guard. Akbar was no different - in the next few seconds, his entire life flashed by as he tried to control the car.
He quickly regained composure, acted quickly and slammed the breaks while spontaneously turning the steering wheel to the left. This prompt reaction kick started the ABS technology and even though it slightly grazed a pavement the car came to a grinding halt safely, away from danger. The impact had deployed the airbags so that none of the occupants suffered any serious injuries and the damage was contained.
“To this day, when I think about what happened, I get the chills. It’s only because of God’s grace and blessings that we escaped imminent danger without any injuries,” said Akbar.
“It was on that day did I realize how useful the Driving Skills For Life (DSFL) Program really is. Had I not worn my seat belt or maintained a three-second distance, things could have taken a different turn. During the practical component of the DSFL training, we repeatedly test the braking distance and the ABS technology. I think those tests helped me evaluate the situation and react swiftly,” he said, effusive in his praise for Ford’s safe-driving training programme.
At Ford’s Global Business Services (comprised of Ford Business Services Center and Ford Technology Services India), DSFL sessions are being organized every month.
“As a part of the DSFL program, we teach the drivers 10 simple steps - from adjusting their mirrors to maintaining a three second distance, and calculating the braking distance. These pointers prepare the drivers for surprises, and help improve their reaction time. ”, said SD Selvaraj, a DSFL master trainer for Ford India.
“The response to these monthly sessions has been nothing short of outstanding! The slots always got completely filled within minutes of opening out the registrations. In fact, in the last six months alone, over 160 Global Business Services employees have learned the art of safe, economic and eco-friendly driving.” said Srikiran Pratapa, general manager, Operations Control, Ford Technology Services India, who coordinated the DSFL program at Global Business Services.
Over the last year, the Driving Skills for Life program has trained over 3000 people in India - from college students to cadets of the Indian Air Force and members of Chandigarh Press Club, among others, across the country. Each DSFL session spans for four hours mixing classroom learning and practical training.
Selva Raj trains DSFL participants during a training session.
A DSFL training session in progress.