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Every 16-year old wants one thing: a car. But all parents want to do everything they can to make sure their kids are safe while they are on the road. While most parents might prefer their children to remain in the passenger seat, that simply isn’t going to happen forever.
Choosing A Safe Car For Your TeenIt is not news that teen drivers are far more likely to have a fatal crash than adults. They are more likely to have single-vehicle crashes, rollovers and run-off-the-road crashes. This means that it is most important for teenagers to have a car with exceptional safety features. When it comes to safety, size, power and technology make all the difference.

It may sound crazy. But because of the risk associated with teen drivers, they need to be driving the safest car, which often means the newest model. Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said that parents should consider purchasing new vehicles for their teenagers because, “…newer vehicles tend to be safer in terms of crashworthiness and they're more likely to have important safety equipment such as side airbags.”

This doesn’t mean your new 16-year old needs a convertible or a Range Rover, but there are some key points to consider when choosing the best vehicle for your teen:

Size: Stay away from compact cars; opt for something slightly larger than a smallest model car. Former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) chief Jeffrey Runge, a former emergency room physician, recommended vehicles weighing at least 3,300 pounds for teen drivers. Teens should not be outsized while on the road, but an SUV is not the answer. They can be harder to handle in emergency situations and don’t handle abrupt movements well.

Speed: Avoid high horsepower; a powerful engine is too much temptation for a new driver. Always choose the less-sporty version. Aim for a vehicle that accelerates from zero to 60 mph in eight to 11 seconds. Any faster is too risky, any slower in unsafe.

Crash Testing: Look for a vehicle with as many airbags as you can find. Side airbags and side curtain airbags — which deploy down from the roof rail to protect the head — are best. Stability control is now mandatory on all passenger vehicles in 2012, which is a great feature to help teen drivers because it senses when the driver is losing control of the vehicle.

While most parents seek out the cheapest used car they can find for their teen driver, this is often a recipe of disaster. If you can’t afford the safest car, choose the safest car you can afford.

By Matt Reynolds - Google+
Posted 12:29 PM

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