Think your teen is safe behind the wheel? Think again. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is around 3 times higher when compared to drivers ages 20 and older. The rate is even greater when only including the crash statistics of 16-year-olds, who due to immaturity and lack of experience are involved in more driving fatalities than any other age group. Using this information as a gauge, it should seem obvious that for a parent choosing a vehicle for their teenage driver, safety is a driving concern.
Your safety criteria, however, should not be limited to dual front airbags and a full complement of seatbelts. While those features serve to protect your teen in the event of a crash, other safety features, such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and antilock brakes, actually help correct driving mistakes. For inexperienced teen drivers, these features may help your teen avoid an accident altogether.
Factor in Affordability
As of 2012, Antilock Braking Systems, ESC and dual front airbags are now requirements for all new vehicles. This is great news for parents purchasing a 2013 or newer model year for their teen. They can feel secure with the knowledge that their child is being protected by some of the most up-to-date safety features.
Unfortunately for many parents, newer model cars are out of their price range. Because affordability is an issue, they must choose from a list of used cars, some of which may be several years old. The good news is that even if price is driving your selection, you do not have to sacrifice safety. By knowing where to find safety ratings for each vehicle, you can still feel confident that your teen is being protected.
Where to Find the Safety ratings
Finding the safety ratings on available used cars does not have to be a challenge. You can check with either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Both these websites conduct independent crash and safety inspections, rating a vehicle’s ability to withstand an impact. Because of this they are a great starting point for sifting through all the available used cars.
At UsedCars.com, we have put together a list of some of the vehicles that have topped the safety lists over the last ten years. When it comes to both safety and affordability for your teen driver, some cars to consider include: