Whether in the new normal or during the “not-so-distant” past, it’s always a good thing to be on the safe side, particularly during the wet and rainy season.
In the 13th edition of Ford Motor Company Philippines’s Driving Skills For Life≠≠≠ (DSFL), well known and respected racing enthusiast and racing school owner JP Tuason reminded the driving population that drivers should always always check under the hood, below the chassis and all other accessories like tires and even the side and rear view mirrors, not withstanding whether the car rarely leaves parking at home or goes out daily for errands or work.
“We definitely need a good refresher for safe driving skills and tips. As we all know, DSFL is a training program that we all need. I think, even if you’re not driving, you’re gonna be rising with someone else and if people are educated properly about road safety, we can avoid accidents on the road,” he said.
The DSFL is one of Ford’s biggest corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. This years DSFL carries the theme is “Safe Driving in the New Normal”.
While, many people do not leave their homes, still, accidents happen, with a batting average of 178 a day, Tuason disclosed.
“And what is important is to keep in mind that the number one reason of these accidents is what they call human errors,” he noted.
One of the first things to do when checking the health and safety of vehicles, before setting out elsewhere, is to check under the car for leaks. One needs to check if there are fluids leaking; secondly, the tire pressure; and also loose items inside the car.
“Check your sitting position, side mirrors, secure all loose objects like cellphones . Once you dropped your mobile phone, you get distracted for the slightest of seconds and these may cause an accident,” Tuason said.
Another important point in the checklist is the state of tires, which should be change at least every 5 years. Tires are essential for drivers to check regularly because they are the only things that touch the ground on a vehicle. One can check tires in the gas station. Vehicle owners are advised not to wait until their tires have bolting sidewalls, which is very dangerous.
Modern cars have what you call, tread wear indicators, this allow tires to tread on puddles, during wet season by getting a firm grip on the road.
“When the tread wears down, we have the tread indicator pointing to the thread and when the tread is flushed with this indications, it is not time to replace the tires. It is important to have enough tire tread in rainy conditions, so that when we get into puddles or situations where there is flooding on the road, we don’t aquaplane and lose control of the vehicle,” Tuason explained.
He added it will be a a lot helpful for a driver to learn to manage a flat tire on the road, since it may happen that there will be nobody to help out once you get a flat tire.
He also made notes on tips in the “new normal” driving precautions which will help protect the driver and other passengers, should there be.
First tip is use social distancing by asking your passengers to sit at the back or far behind you. Tip 2 is to keep you car and equipment always clean. Tip number 3, wear face masks while driving with other passengers. And lastly, use hood hygiene practices like like using alcohol all the time for the different touch points.
Tuason also underscored how is is to clean cars following the safety and hygiene protocol.
“Make sure your vehicle is parked in a cool area for the cleaning materials you’ll be using yo be more effective. When disinfecting, double check the ingredients
of your materials. Bleach and acetone can damage the interior of your car. Do not spray directly in surfaces like the dashboard. Do a quick wash of regularly touched surfaces like door handles,” he added.
He noted that driver should avoid distractions while driving like texting or talking on the phone, falling asleep, changing the radio station, taking medications and eating or drinking while driving.
In general, Tuason cited 5 key takeaways : keep your vehicle properly maintained; drive within the city speed or limits; use the hands-free technology; avoid accidents at all costs; and keep your cars properly disinfected.
The DSFL has successfully trained over 26,000 drivers since it launched in the country. Over the years, the program has made itself relevant with the changing road conditions, policies, and government regulations. In 2019, over 3,300 public and private drivers participated in the DSFL.
The training program has been a consistent recipient of awards in the country. It brought home a Gold award under the Road Safety category in the 4th Driven to Serve Awards by the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists in 2020.
Driving Skills for Life was established in the United States in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the U.S. 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.