The Issues Around Newly Licensed Drivers


Motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death among Canadians under the age of 24, according to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation1. The main factors in teen driver road crashes include impaired driving (impaired by alcohol or drugs), distracted driving (example: texting while driving) and speed. These issues need to be addressed in any reputable teen safe driving program.

Ford Driving Skills for Life – A Safe Driving Solution

Vehicle Handling Course

Ford Driving Skills for Life was set up to be a critical step in the lifelong learning process of skilled driving, and now Ford has expanded the program into Canada.

Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) was established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts to teach newly licensed teens the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs. The program is international in scope touching not only Canada, but many areas around the world. The basic premise behind Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process, providing new skills and information not currently shared with newly licensed drivers in the basic driver education courses.

Training is conducted using a hands-on curriculum and the entire program is available at no cost. Training conducted under the Ford Driving Skills for Life program addresses the inexperience of young drivers, as well as issues surrounding distracted driving. Over the past ten years the results of this effort have been outstanding.


Areas of Inexperience

Ford DSFL helps young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in vehicle crashes, including:

1) Hazard Recognition

  • The point of no return
  • How to scan for trouble
  • Minimizing distractions
  • Safety zones
  • Minimum vision lead time
  • Approaching and turning left at intersection


2) Vehicle Handling

  • Contact road patches
  • How acceleration, deceleration, braking and turns affect vehicle balance
  • Adjusting to a vehicle's size and weight
  • How to recover from skids in front- and rear-wheel drive vehicles


3) Speed Management

  • Driving at a speed that doesn't endanger or impede others
  • Using proper signals and covering the brake
  • Conventional braking systems versus anti-lock braking (ABS) systems
  • Emergency braking techniques


4) Space Management

  • Maintaining space around, ahead of and behind your vehicle
  • Learning how to adjust speed
  • Maintaining a safe distance between vehicles
  • How to avoid being rear-ended and avoiding a head-on crash

Additionally, the program addresses impaired and distracted driving through the hands-on curriculum.


1. Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Teen Driver Spotlight Infographic, 2013, retrieved from:  DOWNLOAD