CCHS offers Driver’s Ed summer classes

Gage Minor practiced his driving skills on Thursday during the Driver's Education summer course at Chilton County High School.

Gage Minor practiced his driving skills on Thursday during the Driver’s Education summer course at Chilton County High School.

The streets of Clanton will often be filled with student drivers this summer, as Chilton County is offering Driver’s Education summer courses.

The first of two sessions kicked off June 8 and will run until July 3, while the second session will begin July 6.

Because CCHS doesn’t offer Driver’s Education classes during the school year, there was a need for the curriculum during the summer break, according to Driver’s Ed teacher Deon Timmons, who always coaches football and basketball at CCHS.

During the first week of the course, the students prepared for the task ahead in the classroom by going over the driving manual, reviewing driving responses and learning about distracted driving.

“We had them put on special ‘drunk goggles’ and try to do simple tasks,” Timmons said. “One day, we even had them attempt to shoot basketballs in the gym so they could get a feel of what it’s like to try and function under the influence.”

During the second week of the course, students began taking the skills they learned in the classroom and putting them to work on the road.

The courses are open to any high-school student, and Timmons said he’s not only taught students from every school in Chilton County, but has also instructed students from Bibb, Shelby and Dallas counties.

Participants will receive course credit for the summer courses, and students from schools other than CCHS may have their transcripts sent to their school.

Timmons said during his six years of teaching the course, he’s learned that the most efficient way to instruct a student behind the wheel is with “patience and encouragement.”

“I try to make sure they’re comfortable behind the wheel before ever leaving the parking lot,” Timmons said. “We really emphasize safety and defensive driving, so [the students] can stay safe on the roads.”

Grant Henderson, a sophomore at CCHS, began his driving lesson by inspecting the tires and headlights for malfunctions.

“First, we do the 360 walk-around,” Henderson said.

Timmons emphasized the importance of making sure the vehicle is “OK” before getting in and cranking up.

“Besides driving, the kids also learn to pay attention to details and they learn discipline,” Timmons said. “If you don’t take care of your vehicle, you won’t be able to drive.”

Sophomore Gage Minor began his lesson with a “360 walk-around” and checking the mirrors before the 7-10 minute route specified by Timmons.

Sitting in the passenger seat, which is equipped with an emergency brake in the floorboard, Timmons gave reminders on when to turn and words of encouragement as Minor drove.

“I have a checklist I keep with me for each student,” Timmons said. “We base how much each student drives on how much experience he or she has. Some students may need more practice and more time driving.”

Minor said the course has taught him things he wouldn’t have learned on his own.

“I’ve driven a lot just this week,” Minor said. “My parents have taught me a lot about driving at home, but I’ve picked up on new thing here too.”

For Minor, mastering the 3-point turn was the most difficult task, while parking is the easiest.

“Coach Timmons helped me with my 4-way stops and 3-point turns. That’s something I’ve never done,” Minor said.

According to Timmons, when the students have passed the course, fulfilled their checklist and passed a driving test issued by Timmons himself, they are issued a yellow card, which they can take to the courthouse in exchange for their driver’s license when they are 16 years old.

Another benefit of the course is the decreased insurance payment for the young drivers.

The June session housed approximately 50 students, Timmons said.

While he said the July session is “almost full,” students may still apply for the course.

To participate, the student must be at least 15 years old and have a learner’s permit.

For more information on the Driver’s Education summer courses, call Chilton County High School at (205) 280-2710.

Driver's Ed teacher Deon Timmons talks with student Gage Minor before completing a driving route in Clanton.

Driver’s Ed teacher Deon Timmons talks with student Gage Minor before completing a driving route in Clanton.

 

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