Ford Motor Company and Effat University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, have concluded the inaugural session of Ford Driving Skills for Life for Her, the automaker’s safe driving programme for teenagers and new drivers.

The programme has been designed to accommodate Saudi women ahead of them acquiring a driver’s licence for the first time.

More than 250 students are among the first graduates of Ford’s new customised version of the global initiative, which is said to help female drivers build confidence as they prepare to acquire their licence.

The students were provided training as part of the programme, which incorporated necessary lessons for new drivers and tips from skilled experts.

“Saudi Arabia has caught up with the rest of the world with regard to women driving.”

The initiative also delivered a deep understanding of safe driving practices.

Effat University president Dr Haifa Jamalallail said: “The wheels of change are constantly moving, and finally, Saudi Arabia has caught up with the rest of the world with regard to women driving. Statistics show that women are generally safer and more defensive drivers than men.”

In order to mimic the effect of tiredness or drowsiness, participants had the chance to wear specially designed ‘fatal vision’ goggles.

They were also given a chance to wear unique night-time goggles that create conditions synonymous with driving on darker roads.

A signature programme of Ford Fund, Driving Skills for Life is an international initiative for road safety created in cooperation with the Governors Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts.

Phase two of Driving Skills for Life for Her is proposed to be conducted later this year at Effat University, with plans to expand the initiative to other institutions across the country.

More than 3,600 students have participated since the programme was launched in the Middle East in 2013.