Are you looking to buy your teen their first car?
It’s a bigger decision than you might realize. While the vehicle they drive isn’t everything, it could be the difference between them getting into a serious car accident or keeping a clean record – and teens aren’t exactly known as the safest drivers on the road.
That’s why we decided to compile a list of what types of cars are safest for your teen – and the other drivers who will be sharing the road with them.
First, what not to get – and why.
Why an Old Beater Isn’t Best for Your Florida Teen
Many parents think that getting an old, cheap car is the best choice for their teen’s first car. Since teens have a high accident rate, why risk damage to a newer vehicle? Also, many parents reason that a bigger, heavier car will fare better if an accident occurs.
However, the number one reason teens are killed is due to automobile accidents because they are inexperienced drivers. Older vehicles aren’t equipped with modern safety features that alert teens to possible dangers. Another problem with older vehicles is that they don’t always perform as well in crash tests, which could result in more injuries if a crash does occur.
Yes, new safety features come with a steeper price tag, but experts say that you should buy the newest car you can afford with at least one safety feature that will help your teen navigate the road better.
What safety features should you target, though? How can you maximize safety while minimizing the price tag?
First, let’s look at what’s out there to keep your teen safe.
The Best Safety Features for Your Teen’s Car
If you can afford them, these systems are invaluable for helping your teen avoid collisions and injuries:
Blind spot monitoring
Newer vehicles detect objects in your teen’s blind spot, which makes these types of collisions far less likely to occur.
Collision warning systems
Using radar and cameras, these systems scan the road to detect objects that are too close for comfort. Collision warning systems sound alerts and provide visual warnings before a crash occurs, giving the driver time to react.
Automatic emergency brakes
This type of system puts on the brakes when the collision warning system senses a threat. With this safety feature, your teen will be protected from crashes that require fast braking.
Lane departure warnings
If your teen is distracted or fatigued, he or she may drift into another lane without realizing it. These safety systems sound and display warnings to get your teen back into the right lane.
If you can afford a vehicle with at least one of these safety features, you’ll have greater peace of mind when your teen starts driving.
Car Manufacturers That Offer the Best Safety Features
These vehicle manufacturers offer selections of safety features that will protect your teen when he or she is behind the wheel.
Look for the Safety Sense bundle of features on various models.
This company has an EyeSight driver assistance package that can be found on several models.
On the 2018 models, automatic emergency braking at lower speeds is a standard feature. You will, however, need to upgrade to higher priced models for this feature to function at highway speeds.
Obviously, these aren’t the only manufacturers with good safety options. If you’re considering a specific vehicle, do some research on the types of safety features available for it before making the purchase.
Worried about money? Even for a car with several safety features, you can negotiate a lease for around $200 per month. Get your teen to help make the payments – they may be more motivated to take care of the vehicle!
Some Final Thoughts on the Right Car for Your Florida Teen
Remember, the bigger the vehicle, the more difficult it could be for your teen to handle. A bigger vehicle can also hold more passengers, which could cause more distractions for your teen driver. Distracted driving is a common reason for teen accidents, so consider this when choosing the best vehicle for your teen.
If you decide to purchase a cheaper vehicle, you may still be able to add on safety features like a rear-view camera or blind spot detection for an additional cost. Remember that newer vehicles will require higher insurance rates and include it in your budget.
Before buying, make sure you check out safety ratings for the vehicle through the National Highway Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety websites.
About the Author:
John K. Lawlor, a South Florida personal injury attorney who focuses his practice on complex personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice, founded the law firm of Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.