How to Choose the Best Car for Your Teen

Looking for a car for your teen driver? There are several things—not just the price—to consider. Here are some guidelines from AAA to help you make your decision.

GoingSolo_KeyPointsForParents_593Buying your teenager’s first car can be daunting. There are many considerations—from affordability to reliability to safety. And more teens die each year in car crashes than from any other cause, so choosing the right car for your child is important. That’s especially so if your teen is a new driver: Teens have a 50 percent higher crash rate in their first month of driving than after a year. To ensure you choose the safest car possible for your child, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

Vehicle Power Sports cars and other vehicles with powerful engines may tempt some teens to speed. A vehicle with a four-cylinder engine is less capable of rapid acceleration—and is a safer choice for teens.

Vehicle Size Larger, heavier vehicles offer better protection than small cars, and teens are less likely to crash them, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). But pickup trucks and larger SUVs also have a higher rate of rollover crashes. Midsize and large sedans and small SUVs are good options.

Vehicle Safety Features Several safety features offer added protection for your teen. Electronic stability control can improve vehicle control on slick roads or at high speeds. It also reduces risk on a level comparable to seat belts, according to IIHS. This safety feature is a must for teens.

In a crash, head restraints provide head and neck protection and, when adjusted properly, offer the maximum protection against whiplash. Also, air bags—frontal and side-impact—help reduce injury risk during crashes. Many parents struggle with whether to buy a used or new car for their teen. A used car may be appealing because it’s likely less expensive. The tradeoff—that it may not have the newest safety features—is one that parents must consider.

Parents should continue to coach their teens and be cautious about the amount of driving responsibility that they give them. By working with teens and buying safe cars, parents are helping their children to have a safe, enjoyable driving experience—for life.

Thinking about purchasing a used vehicle for your teen driver?  Give Douglas Automotive a call to let us conduct a pre-purchase vehicle inspection before putting your teen in the driver’s seat. Most used car dealerships will allow you to take the vehicle to your local auto repair shop to be looked over.  We’ve even had some of our customers meet private sellers at our shop for the pre-purchase inspection.

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