Best Types of Cars for Teens
When determining the safest car for your teen, avoid small cars, trucks and SUVs. Why? Because small cars often don’t provide good protection in a crash and trucks and SUVs are more likely to roll over, even if they are equipped with electronic stability control. Teens tend to make abrupt steering maneuvers such as over-correcting which result in more frequent roll-overs. Roll-overs are the deadliest kind of accident.
Also avoid older cars which may not have safety features that are now considered standard such as side impact airbags. Finally, avoid convertibles and high performance vehicles that encourage high speed.
What’s left? Medium to large sedans are your best bet for teen drivers.
Select the Safest Car Possible
How do you know which cars are the safest? Do your own research by going to the top safety organizations and see what cars they recommend. The gold standard of crash testing is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Their website has the latest safety data for almost every car on the road today. You can follow that up by comparing the IIHS data with other organizations such as the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), Consumer Reports, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Sharing Cars in the Family
Initially, most teens share cars within the family. It’s a good idea to start out sharing cars for 2 reasons. First, it ensures a more gradual learning environment so teens work up to full-time driving responsibility. Second, the purchase of a new or used car as part of the incentive for good driving behavior can go a long way toward helping teens avoid accidents and traffic violations.
Buying a Car for Your Teen
Visit a dealership only after you’ve done your own investigation to find the safest cars. Once there you can determine whether a new or used car is best for your teen. As long as the car is not too old (3-4 years at most) and has up to date safety features (insist on front and side impact airbags and electronic stability control) a used car may be the way to go. Of course, the advantage of a new car is that it is sure to have the best and newest safety features. Ask about warranties and reliability when choosing new vs. used vehicles too.