Teen drivers have a high risk of auto accident injury compared to motorists in other age groups. If you have a young driver in your household, choosing a safe car for him or her to drive can help reduce this risk.
Keep these tips in mind when helping your high school or college student shop for his or her first car.
Aim for the middle
Small cars provide less protection in a crash than larger SUVs and crossovers do. Large trucks and vehicles with extra horsepower can prove tough for teens to handle. A midsize vehicle such as a large sedan or compact SUV provides a good combination of safety and manageability.
Check crash test ratings
When you have a short list of models in mind, review their crash test ratings. Primary sources of this information include the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. The IIHS publishes a list of Top Safety Picks while the NHTSA uses a five-star rating system for new vehicles.
Shop smart safety features
At the very least, your teen’s car should have an antilock braking system, front and side airbags, and electronic stability control. Advanced crash-avoidance features can help new drivers avoid serious auto accident injuries by preventing collisions.
While an older car may seem like a good bargain, it will not necessarily provide the safety your new driver needs on the road. If you decide on a used car, get a full vehicle history report to make sure the car will continue to operate safely for several years.