Ford Designs Cars With Pregnant Drivers In Mind
We’ve all been there. Its the moment in your pregnancy when your belly gets so big, you can no longer properly drive a car. See, your stomach has gotten so large that you have to push the seat back to keep the steering wheel from crushing you. But when you push the seat back, your feet no longer reach the pedals. Ok, I guess I hit this point because I was driving a Hyundai Accent, and my daughter stuck straight out in front of me.
Well, the engineers of Ford are trying to better serve the gestationally-advanced among us. They’re using something called an “Empathy Belly” to understand how driving changes when your pregnant. The belly does more than extend your girth, it includes weights, water and ball bearings to mimic both the shifted balance, excess bladder pressure and fetal kicking that a pregnant woman feels while driving.
The vest helps engineers design cars that are not only more comfortable, but also more safe for soon-to-be-mamas. And now that the engineers have used the “Empathy Belly”, its travelling to Ford dealerships, so that salesmen know about the features available for pregnant women and how to explain them to their customers.
There are millions of different types of people who drive Ford cars, so why did they need to design specifically for preggos? Well, they didn’t. But a senior technical leader for safety, Stephen Rouhana, says, “We have all shapes and sizes of customers that use our vehicles and we try to design our vehicles to accommodate all of them. But the pregnant occupant is one that is hard to really understand if you’ve never been pregnant before and how that affects your use of a vehicle.” Hence, the “Empathy Belly”.
As a woman who so scrunched in her car that it produced constant Braxton Hicks, I have to say that I truly appreciate Ford’s thoughtfulness. Not only would it make long trips more manageable, it also makes every pregnant woman more safe. And we can all say “thank you” for that!
(Photo: The Post Crescent)