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Safest Cars for Teenage Drivers

So, the time has come for your teenager to get behind the wheel, pull out of the driveway, and head out on the open road. While the thought of one’s child braving the highways and byways of the world can be a scary one, it’s something that is going to happen whether you are ready for it or not. Now that your teen is ready to hit the streets, it’s also time for you to consider the safest cars for teenagers.
Safest Cars for Teen Drivers

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Car for Teenage Drivers

There are many factors that are going to go into buying a car, especially when it comes to keeping your teenager safe behind the wheel. Chief among your concerns should be vehicle safety. When considering car safety, start by checking out the crash test scores for all the vehicles you are considering buying. Start with NHTSA and IIHS, since they conduct independent crash tests. NHTSA gives the safest models a five-star rating and if you check out IIHS’s Top Safety Picks of the year, you’ll have a great idea of what vehicles have solid reputations.

Be wary of the smallest compact and subcompact vehicles. They don’t do as well as a larger vehicle when it comes to protection during a crash. Typically, one of the safest cars for teenagers is midsize sedans, since they have a great balance of safety and maneuverability. In a change from previous years, the IIHS now recommends buying an SUV for teen drivers, especially ones that feature electronic stability control.

The Benefits of Purchasing a New Car for Teen Drivers

What teen doesn’t want to pull up to their friend’s house or to school behind the wheel of a brand-new car? Are there benefits of putting your teenager behind the wheel of a new car vs. a used one? Well, typically new vehicles have the latest in safety features that come as standard equipment. Older vehicles may be lacking in that area. Federal law actually requires that all new cars, trucks, and SUVs come standard with features like front and side airbags, and electronic stability control. New vehicles also have the latest and most advanced crash-avoidance technologies included. This can be incredibly beneficial to your teen driver and their safety on the roads.

How to Safely Shop for a Used Car

Perhaps a new car isn’t in your budget for your teenage driver. Or, maybe you’d rather not entrust a brand-new car in the hands of your teen. Prior to purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, it’s imperative to do your research and make a highly educated decision.

Prioritize finding a vehicle that has electronic stability control. Most newer-model used cars will have this feature and it should top your list of desirable features. What else should you look for when it comes to a used vehicle? Airbags, antilock brake systems (ABS), automatic transmission, and even daytime running lamps. Why choose automatic transmission over a manual? According to a report on Edmunds.com, “Automatic transmissions are easier to drive and allow the novice driver to focus on steering, throttle control, and braking,” says AAA’s Dave Cavano, manager for the Automobile Club of Southern California’s car-buying service.

And ABS makes braking—especially in wet or slick conditions—easier for the driver, since it keeps the brakes from locking. These are just a few of the qualities of the safest used cars for teenagers.

Vehicle Safety Ratings from IIHS

Knowing if and where your contending vehicle purchases are ranked by the IIHS can be of a lot of help when making a game time decision. Here we’ll go over some of the ratings for a selection of vehicles in different categories. All ratings have been aggregated from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

IIHS Ranks Safest Cars in 2014

The IIHS releases yearly vehicle safety ratings based on two safety standards: crashworthiness and crash avoidance and mitigation.

Small Cars

  • Ford Focus: 2014 Top Safety Pick
    For moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G (good) rating. For Small overlap front, it received an A (acceptable) rating.
  • Honda Civic 4-Door: 2014 Top Safety Pick+
    For small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G rating.
  • Subaru Impreza: 2014 Top Safety Pick
    For small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G rating.

Midsize Moderately-Priced Cars

  • Ford Fusion: 2014 Top Safety Pick+
    For moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G rating. For Small overlap front, it received an A rating.
  • Mazda 6: 2014 Top Safety Pick+
    For moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G rating. For Small overlap front, it received an A rating.
  • Subaru Legacy: 2014 Top Safety Pick+
    For moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G rating. For Small overlap front, it received an A rating.

Small SUVs

  • Mazda CX-5: 2014 Top Safety Pick+
    For small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G rating.
  • Mitsubishi Outlander: 2014 Top Safety Pick+
    For small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G rating.
  • Subaru Forester: Top Safety Pick+
    For small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G rating.

Midsize SUVs

  • Toyota Highlander: 2014 Top Safety Pick+
    For moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats it earned a G rating. For Small overlap front, it received an A rating.

Self-Stopping Vehicles: Automated Safety

There is a new technology that is starting to gain a lot of traction: self-stopping vehicles. Autonomous braking technology is now a required standard for vehicles in Europe, and that could soon be coming to the US. Volvo first introduced the technology in its 2008 XC60 SUV. How exactly does the technology work, though? According to this article in Thesis Magazine, “manufacturers mount cameras, radars, or lasers onto the front of cars that can act as a second pair of eyes.  If the equipment detects that the driver is about to be involved in a collision and isn’t reacting, the car automatically applies the brakes.”

This system can typically prevent a crash at less than 20 miles per hour, while also slowing a vehicle down enough at higher speeds that it can reduce the impact of a crash.

Mazda currently offers their Smart City Brake Support technology on select 2014 CX-5 and Mazda 6 models, and there will soon be availability on the new Mazda 3.

Subaru’s EyeSight technology is available on select 2014 Forester models and Outback models. It can also be found on the Legacy 2.5i Premium.

Volvo’s City Safety technology comes standard on their S60, S80, and XC60 vehicles.

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) has been called the safest invention on cars since the seatbelt, and it helps to keep the car on the roadway in an emergency driving situation. This is great for new drivers. More and more cars are being manufactured with ECS as a standard option.

If your teenager is obtainingPurchasing Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania a PA driver’s license and/or has purchased a vehicle, be sure to download this ebook on “Purchasing Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania” to learn how to effectively shop for comprehensive auto coverage at the lowest cost.
 

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