Ford Motor Company Thinks of Every Stage of Life
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a meet and greet with Ford Motor Company and their innovative program, Ford Driving Skills For Life. It was amazing to see all of the great things that Ford does to help ensure that teenagers are safe on the road, along with some insights into how they take in to consideration the needs of expectant mothers, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities when they’re building cars.
I started my session with an overview of the Ford Driving Skills For Life Program from Kate Dennis. Kate explained how this program was established by Ford to provide teens an opportunity to learn safe driving tips. As newly licensed drivers, it’s imperative they learn how to navigate in challenging environments (e.g. Large Trucks, Rain, etc.). But, they also are taught how to recognize these challenges, and handle their vehicle more effectively. Check out this video about the program.
On top of that, they also learn about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol by being fitted with the Ford “Drugged Driving” and “Drunk Driving” suits which mimic the physical impairments of being under the influence. This program has been recognized nationally, and strives to bring their program to twenty cities a year throughout the US. Click here to find out where they’ll be next. Also, here's a video about Ford's Drugged Driving Suit.
I was really struck by how great this program would be for children or adults with disabilities. This would be a great opportunity for them to learn driving skills in a supported and safe environment. I’m sending my sister as soon as Ford starts that version. This would be the perfect environment for her to learn (Hint! Hint)
I also had a chance to try their “Third Age Suit” and “Empathy Suit”. Mary Heck, Human Factors Engineer with Ford walked me through how these suits work. The “Third Age Suit” was designed to reduce mobility when worn, and helps Ford engineers and designers think of the challenges that the elderly face. The “Empathy Suit” is designed to mimic pregnancy. Ford Engineers and Designers use these experiences to ensure they’re creating vehicles that will accommodate the needs of drivers across every spectrum of life.
When I put them on, I was blown away by how I felt. From the hand tremors to the extra weight, it was amazing to physically feel the potential challenges faced by senior and pregnant drivers.
Having this experience really altered my thoughts on vehicles, and on Ford. When we buy cars we typically look at aesthetic features. But, as our family dynamics change (e.g. children, aging parents, etc.), our needs change. Having this experience with Ford, really made me look at them in a new light. They showed me that they really care about the changing needs of consumers, and that definitely puts them at the top of my list when I decide to look for a vehicle. Thank you Ford for such an amazing experience.
Until we meet again!