BY A.J. DUGGER III
Sharon Winter and Donna Bayless are making an impact on Williamson County drivers with their unique driving classes.
Two years ago, the two women founded RightLane, an organization that gives keynote speeches and teaches driving school, mostly to those attending after receiving a traffic ticket.
“We do it differently. We give great information in a different way,” said Bayless.
The two teachers feel that they were destined to make an impact together. Bayless and Winter grew up together in Kentucky, drove white ’65 Mustangs in high school, went to the same college, and later reconnected in Tennessee.
The instructors are passionate about spreading the dangers of multi-tasking while driving, which has led to many accidents.
“We’re trying to make people aware that they are distracted drivers,” said Winter. “You can’t multi-task in a car. You can, but you’re not very proficient at it. And when you’re not proficient at it, it can cause a wreck.”
As part of RightLane, the two women run a defensive driving school called The Tennessee Driver. “We bought the Tennessee Driver last summer. It was already an established school in Franklin. We do keynote addresses and workshops. Our big talk there is on multi-tasking and productivity,” said Winter.
The two wanted to teach a driving class that wouldn’t bore people.
“We have very few bullet points on our slide shows because that’s boring. We break people into groups and let them do teamwork exercises. We think of it as an adult workshop. You’re not being lectured but you’re experiencing something,” said Winter. “We do activities and have them do multi-tasking tasks as hands-on experiments.”
Bayless and Winter have success by entertaining and educating at the same time. Sometimes people enter the class in bad moods, already upset because they have to be there and expect a boring time. But Winter and Bayless change their moods really fast. Often when people leave the class, they tell the instructors that they love the class and recommend it to their friends and family. “We just have fun and we love meeting the people that come. We have people from 14 to 85,” said Winter.
The two founders of RightLane are warning drivers that this is a season to be extra cautious on the road. “We’re getting ready for high school graduation and three holidays this summer,” said Winter. “Unfortunately those are the deadliest times on the road; when kids are out of school and when we have holidays because there are more people on the road and people drink more during those times.”
Bayless and Winter often explain the dangers of multi-tasking while driving. “We wanted to take the message of distracted driving to companies because they have such a liability when their drivers are behind the wheel of a car,” said Winter. “Through our research we found out that when you’re driving a car and doing one more thing, you’re multi-tasking and our brains can’t do that.”
The driving school also serves another purpose.
“The school has been a ticket to dismissal school. If you get a ticket and the court says you qualify, you can come to our school and get that ticket off your record,” said Bayless.
Though the instructors are having success, they want to spread the word about RightLane and expand it in the future. “We want to expand our school beyond ticket dismissals. We want teenagers who are learning to drive to come to our school or anyone else that needs a refresher course. We would love to expand in that direction,” Bayless said.
Classes are held at The Grove in Cool Springs, located at 274 Mallory Station Road. The class meets from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. There is also a monthly weeknight class held at The Williamson County Chamber of Commerce office in Cool Springs located at 5005 Meridian Blvd #150.