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How To Pick The Right Car For Safe Teen Driving

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that of all parents who purchase vehicles for their children, 83% buy used cars. However, while such cars may have a price advantage over something brand-new, they may not be “good as new” in terms of safety. Here are some factors parents should consider if they want their teenagers to drive something safe, reliable, and economic.

Focus on Crash Test Ratings

Car companies and independent researchers conduct these tests for a reason: consumers demand them. For vehicles of every make, model, and year, there’s plenty of data out there on how well they protect drivers in crashes or collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency’s ratings are the industry standard. The IIHS has a list of recommendations directed specifically toward parents shopping for used cars. The Monash University Accident Research Centre in Australia even provides extensively researched Used Car Safety Ratings. Potential buyers can only benefit from knowing how well a car did – or how poorly.

Get Something as New as Possible

Even with used cars, newer models may be less affordable than older ones. However, they tend to be safer. Auto companies always strive to invent and incorporate more advanced safety technology into their latest vehicles. This means that a car released in any given year should be an improvement on those of previous years. After all, the safety features we take for granted now were once new. Though getting something newer may cost more than something older, you can bet it would be safer.

Don’t Miss These Safety Features

Preferably, having more safety features in a car is preferable to having less, but some consumers prefer a lower price for fewer features. The IIHS understands this, but they insist that any parent shopping for their new driver should find a vehicle with two specific ones. Side airbags, found in most cars from 2008 onward, can keep the driver’s head and chest safe in side-impact crashes.

More important is electronic stability control (ESC), which “helps drivers maintain control on curves and slippery roads.” It halves the odds of drivers perishing in accidents involving one vehicle. Certain older models come with SC, but in 2012 it became a required feature for “all but the heaviest vehicles.” The IIHS sees this and the side airbags as an excellent technology for keeping teen drivers safe.

Bigger is Better

Teens might prefer a small, sleek car over a bulkier van or SUV, but larger vehicles can protect drivers better. This may seem like common knowledge, but size can make more of a difference in an accident than you might think. A 2013 University at Buffalo study revealed that when cars and SUVs collide, the car drivers tend to fare much worse. Even if the car has a higher safety rating than the SUV, the driver is still four times more likely to die in a crash between the two.

Parents prioritizing safety should pick something large. However, they should make sure to avoid buying something too large. There’s a noticeable difference between how small and big vehicles handle, and teen drivers, new to the road, may have difficulty controlling something bulky.

Here at Rossetti & DeVoto, our lawyers are experts in car safety and the laws surrounding vehicle conduct. Contact us online today for a free consultation or call us at (844) 263-6260.

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Andy Rossetti and Lou DeVoto have again been named to New Jersey's Best Lawyers for 2018 for Personal Injury Litigation. This is the 15th year in a row that both Rossetti & DeVoto have been named in the elite rankings.

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