Your teenager just got their license, and you’re quietly hoping they don’t ask for a 1,000-horsepower sports car. There may be self-induced pressure to give them the car they want because you think they deserve it. Or maybe you don’t want their friends to laugh at them for having a boring vehicle. But you have to use sound judgment to determine what kind of vehicle their skill and maturity level can handle. Fortunately, a lot of cars have the personality, style and performance that teen drivers want while also retaining excellent safety standards.
Teens tend to think they know it all. This is true whether it’s in the household, in the classroom or on the road. It’s one of the main reasons they’re a high risk category for insurance companies. Inexperience, inability to judge risk and a feeling of invulnerability combine to make them more than 3.5 times more likely to have an accident than an adult. You can expect your insurance to increase by an average of 130% once you add your teen to the policy.
Teen drivers are easily distracted, with 90% admitting to using a phone while driving. For this reason, it’s not important to get them a car with all kinds of gadgets in the cabin. You can skip the aftermarket stereo, touchscreen panels and entertainment systems. The purpose of a first car is to let your teen have mobility while getting comfortable with driving, so eliminating distractions is ideal.
Best vehicle types
When it comes to types of vehicles, you may assume that large SUVs are the best choice because of their size and weight. But data shows that midsize sedans are by far the safest category. They come with a broad array of safety options. They also have a low center of gravity, so they’re not very likely to roll over. And finally, they tend to be somewhat under-powered, which makes it unlikely your teen will race other vehicles.
Old or new?
If you think your teen needs a lot of practice with driving or isn’t very enthusiastic about operating a vehicle, consider buying an older model. This will allow them to drive while keeping up-front costs and insurance rates low. You never know – they may just fall in love with the thing. Just make sure it’s a reliable vehicle. The last thing you want to do is give your teen a lemon that leaves them stranded on the side of the road. They won’t forgive you for that one!
If your teenager is a cautious and sound driver, you may consider buying a newer vehicle. You’ll pay more in insurance and up-front costs, but the maintenance expenses will definitely be lower. Depending on the model year, there will also probably be far more safety options to choose from.
Your teen may look at you funny for the vehicle that you selected for them. But after a year or two of driving and getting more experience, they’ll understand your decision and thank you for it.
If you’d like to learn more about choosing a safe, reliable used car, stop by Auto Market of Florida, or check out our online inventory.