As another school year comes to an end, teenagers will be hitting the road. Some may be headed to college and others with a new license. If you are thinking of buying a car for your new driver or your recent graduate, there are some things to consider. Most top safety picks are new model or luxury vehicles. Most parents chose to buy used cars for their teenage children. With this reality, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety regularly publishes a list of affordable vehicles that meet important safety criteria for teen drivers. Here are the criteria that they follow and what parents should be looking for when shopping.
All young people are ready to test limits. Some of the time this is healthy but when it comes to driving, this is not to be encouraged. When buying a vehicle for your teen, stay away from high horsepower. Do not give them the opportunity to see how fast and quickly that car can actually go.
Aesthetics may be tempting, but bigger and heavier vehicles protect better in a crash. No mini or small cars make the list. In fact, insurance data show that teens are less likely to crash a vehicle that is large in the first place.
In addition to side airbags, you want to make sure your used vehicle has electronic stability control. This safety feature, which helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads, is a must. It cuts the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash in half and has been required in all but the heaviest vehicles since 2012.
While you are shopping, ensure that the vehicles you are browsing have the best safety ratings possible. They should, at minimum, have received good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front, side, and head restraint tests and four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Lastly, check for recalls. Use the vehicle identification number to check for outstanding recalls before buying and after purchasing, notify the manufacturer to receive future notices.