Car considerations are not to be taken lightly. To decrease teen driver crash risk, research shows that for at least the first year after licensure it’s best to share, not own, a car. After this time, honestly assess your child: Is he or she ready to have his or her own car? You know your teen best. If you’re unsure, consider postponing the purchase. Remember, your role is to keep your teen safe. Here are some tips when considering purchasing a motor vehicle for your teen:
- Resist cars with a sporty, performance-driven image. These vehicles can encourage young drivers to speed and "test" their performance.
- Look for mid- and full-size passenger cars with updated safety features. They offer more crash protection than smaller vehicles due to their size and weight. The best models also have side and curtain airbags, as well as the standard driver and passenger ones. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is also great feature for helping your teen avoid a crash.
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a must-have. This safety feature greatly reduces risk by helping drivers maintain control on curves and in inclement weather.
- Consider the rollover factor. Some vehicles, such as SUVs and pick-up trucks may seem safe due to their size and weight. But because they’re more likely to roll over during a crash, these types of vehicles are not recommended for teens. Due to their inexperience, teens are more likely to overcorrect or drive off the road when distracted or to avoid a hazard, which can lead to rollovers.
- New is not always best or possible. This is a valuable life lesson to share with your teen. Talk about your family’s budget and why a used car may be the best choice at this time. Discuss the cost of insurance, repairs, etc. and how he will be able to contribute.
- Be sure to check the vehicle’s safety and rollover ratings at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety websites before making a purchase or handing over the “family car” to your teen.
For more on choosing a safe car for your teen, visit the Consumer Reports website.
Looking for a used car for your teen? Here are some more tips to guide you.