Tips for Choosing a Car for a Teen Driver

Finally being able to drive is likely a thrill for your teenager. In contrast, watching your son or daughter take to the roads for the first time is more likely to be nerve-racking for you. So, when the time comes to help your teen choose a car, you will likely have safety as your primary concern.

Your teen will likely want the flashy sports car or the tough-looking truck. But the following considerations should be higher on your list of desirable car traits.

Load Up on the Safety Features
Since safety for your teen is your paramount concern, look at the safety features any potential car offers. You can start by looking at the model’s car safety rating. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offer highly regarded safety rating systems.

A specific safety feature you want is a plethora of airbags. In addition to the driver and passenger airbags, you also want side-impact and side curtain airbags. Additionally, as an aid to preventing accidents in the first place, electronic stability control is ideal because it will help your teen maintain control on slippery roads. Blind-spot monitoring is also useful for preventing accidents.

Some features that are useful but not as essential are backup cameras and parking sensors. Parking can be difficult, so you can avoid some fender benders with these safety features. You can also consider features such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

Look at Good-Sized Cars
Experts have some conflicting advice about what size car is ideal for first-time drivers. One school of thought is that larger vehicles can help protect teens during a crash. While more vehicle does lead to more protection, the increased size and weight of the vehicle results in longer braking distances. Additionally, more space allows them to fit more distracting friends into their car.

Another school of thought holds that midsize sedans are a better bet for teen drivers. They still feature a lot of mass for protection in a crash, but they’re easier to stop to prevent that crash in the first place. What’s more, they’re easier to navigate, which also helps prevent accidents. Finally, a sedan’s low center of gravity helps prevent rollovers during an accident.

Decrease Engine Power
The temptation to speed is common in any driver. However, the temptation is especially prevalent in teenagers. So, you want to minimize how well they’re able to speed. To that end, avoid engines that advertise turbo power. As an example, you should probably stay away from V6 engines, as they offer a fair amount of power.

An inline-4 engine, which runs on just four cylinders, is an ideal choice. Acceleration is limited with these engines. What’s more, four-cylinder engines offer better fuel economy, which is good news for whoever foots the gas bill. Because these engines are so good on fuel economy, they also have a smaller carbon footprint.

Consider Pre-Owned vs. New
Both new and used cars have their benefits as a first car for a teenager. With new cars, you have the advantage of knowing your teen will likely have fewer mechanical issues to worry about. What’s more, a new car is likely to have all the latest safety features. That said, new cars do cost more up front as well as in insurance.

With pre-owned cars, you might have more mechanical issues. So, when you shop for a used car, look at the number of owners it’s had. Often, the best previous owner is the owner who only drove it to work each day. However, any single-owner vehicle is ideal. Additionally, look for a newer car so it has more of the latest safety features.

Choose a safe, reliable car, and you can feel confident sending your teen out onto the road. For a wide selection of both new and pre-owned vehicles, visit Roseville Automall.

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