One of the proudest moments in the life of a teen is when he or she receives a driver’s license. It’s also one of the most unsettling moments for parents.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to relieve the stress and anxiety when it comes to putting your teen behind the wheel of a vehicle. Selecting the right car is one of them.
Putting Safety First
Once your teen has passed the driver’s license test, the next step is finding the right vehicle for them and for your wallet. Consumer Reports tests over 60 cars a year and reveals what most parents already suspect. Sports vehicles, with their power and speed, are not a good fit for younger, inexperienced drivers.
Larger cars may not be the best choice for many teens either. According to the CDC, the risk of vehicle crashes rises with the number of passengers young drivers carry.[i] Larger cars offer plenty of seating for friends to tag alone with your child, inviting distractions and increasing the risk of an accident. On the other hand, bigger vehicles offer greater road stability and safety in motor vehicle accidents but can be more difficult for some young drivers to maneuver.
Teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers over the age of 20,[ii] so giving your teen the advantage of advanced safety features may make it easier to protect them when out on the road.
Generally speaking, the newer the model the more safety features you will find, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) and forward-collision warning (FCW). According to Liberty Mutual, the most important safety features for teens are those that help them control the vehicle in poor driving conditions. Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control (ESC) are considered top must-haves for young drivers.[iii]
Top Safety Pick Cars by IIHS
When recommending cars for teens, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) focuses on performance, safety and affordability and bases recommendations on four main overarching principles:
- Inexperienced drivers should never drive fast cars.
- Larger vehicles provide additional protection in accidents.
- Electronic stability control (ESC) is imperative. It helps drivers keep their vehicle under control on slippery and curvy roads.
- Vehicles should meet a minimum high standard, including a 4 out of 5 star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as a decent rating in the IIHS moderate overlap test.
IIHS understands that most parents aren’t shopping new when buying a car for their teen-aged driver. Their recent survey revealed that 83 percent of respondents who bought a car for their teen, purchased a pre-owned vehicle. With that in mind, the IIHS has published a list of affordable used vehicles that meet the safety criteria for teen drivers.
The list contains two sections — best and good — of recommended cars for teen drivers. The prices range from $2,000 – $20,000 which fits most budgets. Top picks in the best category ranged from $2,500 for a 2005 Volvo XC-90 up to a high end of $15,600 for a 2014 Toyota Tundra extended cab pickup truck.[iv] In its evaluation, IIHS also determined the cars with the highest accident rates for teens. Small two-door and mid-sized sports cars had the highest claim frequency for young drivers.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children aged 14 to 18, according to Consumer Reports, so buying the safest car a budget allows is an important first step in making sure your teen is safe behind the wheel.
Of course, the most important consideration is making sure your child is ready to take on the road and is a responsible driver. This, along with a vehicle equipped with safety features, reduces the risk of accidents. So, do your research and choose wisely when purchasing a vehicle, and to get the best rate on car insurance for teens, complete our multiple teen insurance quote form today.
[i] “Teen Drivers: Get the Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018. Web.
[ii] “Teen Drivers: Get the Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018. Web.
[iii] “Picking the Right Used Car for Your Teen.” Liberty Mutual Insurance. Masterthis, 2018. Web.
[iv] “Choosing the Best Vehicle for Your Teen.” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Highway loss Data Institute, 2018. Web.