Ford Lommel invites senior citizens to go into a skid
Ford Belgium has invited some fifty senior citizens to go into a skid and sharpen their driving skills with modern cars on a Safe Drive Training for 65+, at Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground. It’s somewhat similar to Ford’s worldwide Driving Skills program for young drivers, but this time for golden-agers. And the seniors, they loved it.
The training sessions of half a day consisted of car control techniques with Skid Cars to deal with oversteer and understeer, emergency braking, and evasive action, how to deal with distraction behind the wheel, and modern ADAS (Advanced Driving Assistance Systems). The latter included automatic emergency braking, automated parking, and a ride in the all-electric Mustang Mach-E.
Sold-out in hours
Additional themes in the program were measuring sight and reflexes, simulating driving under the influence of alcohol by wearing special glasses, and comprehensive instruction of the functions of ABS and ESP systems.
Ford and the city of Lommel called upon the senior citizens living nearby the Prooving Ground to enlist for the one-day program. They saw an overwhelming response in a couple of hours with three times more candidates than available places.
Average age of 73 years old
Ultimately, 48 of them were chosen to sharpen their skills with the help of twelve Ford instructors. The average age of the participants was 73,6 years old, with the oldest being 84. One-third were women.
And they all loved it, Ford says. 100% of them indicated they would recommend it to their peer group and said the experience exceeded their expectations. For 77%, the skidding part of the program “was the most instructive part”.
Learned more than in last 15 years
According to the Ford instructors, the seniors showed more attentiveness and eagerness to learn than some youngsters in the parallel program. According to Ford, one of the participating seniors said to have learned more in half a day than in the past 15 years on the road.
“There are two reasons for this,” the man said. “One is as a driver you don’t feel the need to improve yourself, being subconscious about your shortcomings. The other is cars have evolved so much in the last decades. So you’re often not aware of what they are capable of.”