DEFUNIAK SPRINGS (WMBB) — The Walton County Sheriff’s Office hosted a teen driver challenge on Saturday, educating local teenagers in a daylong course. Throughout the day, ten to fifteen teenagers learned how to check their oil, find their spare tire and adjust to stressful driving situations. 

“For the parents especially, they get a little peace of mind knowing that their teen and new driver has had a little more experience driving, and safer behind the wheel,” Deputy Sheriff Corelle Banjoman said.

The first few hours consisted of the young drivers learning about the dangers of texting while driving, and being intoxicated while behind the wheel. After that, the students rode in their personal cars with one of the teachers, who guided them through a driving course.

The deputies told students to speed up to 35 MPH and guide through the cones quickly, to simulate a quick-decision moment on the roads. 

“I’m not super experienced as a driver, almost two years,” Caroline Beer, one of the students said. “But it’ll be really useful for some of these situations that I’ve never experienced them, if I have to experience them in the future.”

The deputies taught the teenagers what to do if their car skidded off the road or hydroplaned during a storm. They also directed the teenagers through the course, and practiced making split second decisions, as the deputies directed the drivers which route to take, at the last second. 

“It isn’t something that they’ve experienced before,” Deputy Sheriff Erik Hartsel said. “So it’s eye opening and it helps them not to panic in case they’re ever faced with that situation later on.”
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office hosts these free sessions four times a year. The Fire Department recently held another event beneficial to the community. To sign up for these teen driver challenge classes, visit this homepage. The class lasted until 5 p.m. with lunch provided by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.