Columbia County Sheriff’s Office offering unique teen driver’s ed course

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COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF)– Sitting behind the wheel is a responsibility Columbia County sheriff’s deputies say they take very seriously, so they’re hosting teen driver safety classes to teach students how to respond in dangerous situations.

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Situations like how to regain control of a car when you’re skidding out. Correcting yourself when you’ve lost control of the vehicle is known as CPR. Correct, pause, and recovery.

The program is new, but instructors say it’s one that can be the difference between life and death.

“The fact of the matter is, between the ages of 16 and 19, the number one killer of teens is sitting in the driveway,” Lt. Russell Canterbury said. “More car accidents hurt these young people. And as a police officer, responding to a call where you have to put a sheet over a child is probably the worst one you can go to.”

Students attend a classroom session where they learn driver safety, before hitting the practice tracks for some creative exercises.

“We call them drunk goggles, and it’s to simulate the effects of if you were intoxicated, and the dangers and what that could do and how that could physically impair you,” Lt. Canterbury said.

In one exercise, students are instructed to type a text message while driving, to learn how quickly they can veer off the track.

“It’s a relatively short text, and most of them end up hitting the cone or going off the roadway, safely,” Lt. Canterbury said. “Hopefully if they get to see it for themselves, it’ll lock in on them.”

He says much of the program’s focus is on dangers of distracted driving, and learning to be a good driver who avoids distractions and knows how to react in dangerous situations takes experience.

“If we can artificially create that out here, hopefully it’ll sink in,” Lt. Canterbury said.

The program is free and teens can sign up by calling Columbia County’s Community Services.


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