Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teens, and in 29% of those accidents the primary cause is speeding.1
Driving fast with turbochargers and high horsepower is even more dangerous. Selecting a vehicle with a four-cylinder engine and average horsepower can help ensure a safer ride and could even save your teenager’s life. In addition you could pocket some savings with a lower insurance rate.
Many parents mistakenly assume that trucks, vans and SUVs are the safest vehicles for teen drivers. The reality is that a high center-of-gravity makes them much less stable and more prone to rollovers2
than traditional mid-size sedans, so try to stay away from them.
Many parents can’t afford to provide their teens with new or almost-new vehicles, but letting your teenager drive a car that is too old can be dangerous. If possible, try to provide your young driver with a 1997 or newer vehicle – the year airbags were required in all models. Also, look for other, more recent safety features, such as side airbags, anti-lock brakes and roll stability control.
Look at vehicle crash-test scores when shopping for a car; they tell you how well a vehicle can withstand front and side impacts, and prevent rollovers. Crash-test scores are approximate, but represent an excellent appraisal of how well the vehicle will protect its passengers in a car-crash. The National Highway Safety Administration’s vehicle safety site www.safercar.gov provides rates for a range of vehicles.