Safety Features to Look for When Buying Your Teen’s First Car

By Blog

unsplash _ copyright free carA teen’s first car is something they’ll never forget.  Whether old or new, that first taste of freedom is a rite of passage.  It’s something you, as a parent, will never forget, either, as looking for your child’s first car requires a lot of careful consideration and research before buying.  

When it comes to shopping for a vehicle, safety should always be the greatest consideration.  You don’t want something that is too small, because it won’t offer much protection in the event of an accident.  However, you don’t want something that’s too big, either. Inexperienced, first-time drivers won’t be used to the slower reaction time that is associated with these larger models, especially when turning and braking.      

For your teen’s first set of wheels, you want a vehicle that falls right in the middle, like a mid-size car.  It’s small enough to maneuver easily and large enough to protect your precious cargo in the event of a collision.  A vehicle with front-wheel-drive is also a safer bet for new drivers in the event of bad weather.  No matter what vehicle you choose, though, the most important thing is that your teenager understand the benefits and limitations of your choice. He or she should be as prepared as possible when meeting the unexpected.  

Now, though vehicle size is important, there are a great number of other safety considerations when shopping for your teen’s first car.  Here are a few additional factors to look for and research:      

  • Age – How old is the car?  Here, again, you want to go for a mid-range vehicle.  A new car will cost more to insure, due to the anticipated cost of repairs and replacement.  An older car may be significantly less expensive up front, but it will lack the necessary, modern safety features that you’re looking for, and it may even be more difficult to handle on the road. Finally, the potential need for frequent repairs is likely to be more than a teenage budget can handle.  A middle aged car, around 5 – 7 years old, will have more modern safety features and be more cost-efficient.  
  • Cost – When you talk about the cost of a car, you’re looking at more than the sticker price.  Always, always, always do your research and know what you’re buying.  Before you buy, you should know the kind of gas mileage you can expect, the average repair costs and general maintenance costs, as well as the cost of insurance.  
  • Safety Features – Know what kind of safety features are built into your car.  Modern vehicles come with all kinds of advanced safety options including air bags, anti-lock brakes, hands free controls, navigation systems, roadside assistance and electronic stability control.  Electronic stability control is absolutely a key feature you’ll want when shopping for your teen because it helps drivers keep control when going around curves too fast or driving in slippery road conditions.  It will also help prevent what are called loss-of-control crashes, those which teenagers are more likely to get into.
  • Power – Inexperienced drivers need a car that’s easier to control.  Look for something with less power, like a four-cylinder vehicle.  These will also restrict the temptation to speed.

When it comes down to it, safety matters.  You’ll want to invest in as much safety as possible for your teenager’s first car.  When shopping around, keep in mind that some companies actually offer discounted safety features and equipment that can be added to vehicles.  And no matter what, always check out your vehicle model’s crash test rating and safety record before getting on the road.  



Image courtesy of Unsplash