What to Look for in a Car for Your Teen Driver

Teenage DriverIf you’re the parent of a teenage driver, the thought of them being set loose on the road might keep you up at night.

For many parents, an armored tank is the only acceptable option when it comes to their kid behind the wheel.

If you’re like most people, a tank is probably out of your budget. And for many families, a brand new car is also too pricey for a teenage motorist.

In fact, 83 percent of parents surveyed said they bought a used car for their young driver.

Fortunately, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released a list of the safest used vehicles for young drivers, as well as several criteria to look for when purchasing a used car for your teen.

Of course, accidents happen, whether you’re a novice driver or an experienced motorist with thousands of miles under your seat belt.

When an auto accident happens, one of your first steps should be to call a Boca Raton car accident lawyer.

3 Must-haves for Teenage Motorists

When you’re in the market for a used car, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options.

Should you go with a smaller vehicle for your new driver, or should you opt for an SUV?

Should you give in to your child’s demands and purchase a truck, or is it important to insist on a car?

According to the IIHS, there are plenty of safe options across all vehicle types, including trucks and SUVs, but there are three items parents should always have on their car-buying checklist:

  • Avoid higher horsepower. Fast cars and young drivers are a dangerous combination. Most young people, and especially young men, love the sound of a powerful engine. America has long had an obsession with fast and powerful vehicles. The success of the The Fast and the Furious movie franchise is evidence of that. However, this is not a situation where you want life to imitate art. Stick to lower horsepower options for your teen driver and remove the temptation to exceed the speed limit.
  • Go with bigger, heavier vehicles. From tiny homes to minicars, small has become trendy in recent years, especially among young people. When it comes to cars, however, larger and heavier vehicles are safer choices.
  • Choose a car with electronic stability control.According to the IIHS, electronic stability control (ESC) has been shown to cut the risk of single-vehicle fatal crashes in half. The technology is designed to help motorists maintain control when driving on slick roads or around sharp curves. ESC is mandatory for all vehicle models manufactured in 2012 and later.

With these three must-have items on your list, you are prepared to begin the search for a safe and reliable used car for your teen.

The used vehicles recommended by the IIHS have earned either a four- or five-star rating in both front and side impact crash tests, and all used cars listed are priced at or below $20,000.

Check for Recalls and Previous Accidents

If you plan on buying a used car for your teen driver, it’s also important to check the car’s history. Fortunately, you don’t just have to take the previous owner’s word for it that the car hasn’t been involved in a crash.

According to Edmunds.com, there are several options for checking a car’s background. Popular companies include AutoCheck and Carfax.

Additionally, some used car dealers offer free car history reports on the vehicles they sell.

However, you may want to run your own separate report, just to be certain your vehicle is in the clear.

You should also check to make sure the used car you’re buying is free of recalls.

You can check for recalls for free through the safercar.gov website, which is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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