When the day comes for your teen to get behind the wheel of a car and hit the road on his own, it can be a day of both pride and apprehension. As parents, it is our job to prepare our children for the responsibilities of the road and to put them in the best position possible to travel safely. Vehicle choice is an important factor impacting teen driver safety, and unlike so many other factors, it is an element that parents can help to impact. To help ensure your teen is in the best position to stay safe behind the wheel, consider these features when helping your teen to select the right vehicle:
- Do your research. Before putting your teen behind the wheel of any vehicle, review its safety ratings to ensure it has proven safety reliability. You can find reviews at the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- Select a newer vehicle. Though more expensive than older, used vehicles, newer vehicles are typically in optimal working order and typically offer the newest and most advanced safety features to help keep your teen safe from accidents and injuries.
- Choose a vehicle with high quality safety features. Select a vehicle for your teen that possesses optimal safety features such as fully functional seat belts, front, rear, and side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock breaks, and ideally a rear back-up camera. Avoid vehicles where vision may be impaired, such as vehicles with tinted windows or modified pick-up trucks or Jeeps with obstructed rear views.
- Choose a vehicle with proper crash protection. Aside from properly functioning airbags, choose a vehicle that offers optimal crash protection. Mid-size vehicles offer more protection than smaller vehicles in the case of a collision.
- Choose a stable vehicle. Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and other taller vehicles are more likely to roll over due to their height. Instead, choose a sedan with a lower center of gravity that is more stable and less likely to tip or roll. Heavier vehicles are also safer than smaller, lighter options.
- Consider fuel economy. Choose a vehicle that gets at least 20 miles per gallon in city and highway driving to minimize the possibility of running dangerously low on fuel due to poor miles per gallon ratings.
- Avoid vehicles with high horsepower. Sports cars and other high-performance vehicles may encourage reckless driving by tempting drivers to speed in order to appreciate their full functionality. Select a vehicle with a more responsible and functional appearance and performance level for better safety.
A newer vehicle with fully functional safety features can help protect your teen driver during his initial years on the road. For questions regarding your insurance coverage and what steps you may need to take in order to insure your teen driver, contact your independent insurance agent.