How to choose a safe car for your teen

July 21, 2014 12:00 AM

After your teen has finished his or her driving classes and received a license, you may find yourself buying a new car. If you are in the financial position to do so, it's certain to be an exciting time. However, while your teen may be looking for something shiny and fast, it's your job to find a safe and reliable vehicle that will protect your new driver.

The best cars for a new drivers
Bigger and younger cars are better for newer drivers. Larger vehicles provide more protection in the event of a crash and newer models come with more safety features. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study showing that among fatally injured drivers ages 15-17, 29 percent were in compact or small cars, and 82 percent were in vehicles at least 6 years old. The organization recently released a list of cars that are safer and more affordable for young drivers. These cars included the Acura RL, the Subaru Legacy, the Nissan Rogue and the Volkswagen Routan. They are all in the $10,000 range. The most affordable car listed as a "best choice" is the Volvo XC90, including models from 2005 and later, with the cost starting at $7,300.

Edmund's reported on some newer cars that have teen-specific safety measures. This includes Hyundai's Blue Link and Ford's MyKey telematics systems. This technology gives parents the ability to block incoming texts when a teen's car is in motion. These systems help to cut down on distracted driving and keep teens from texting while driving.

Making your car teen safe
Buying a car for your teen is a wonderful gift, but isn't possible for all families. If your young driver is going to be using an older car that your family already has, there are still steps you can take to keep your teen safe. Many smartphone apps, similar to the MyKey telematics system, exist that you can download to their phone to protect them. These include LifeBeforeTexting, which will block texts while a person is driving, and Accutracking, which will keep track of your teen's driving habits.

Before your child is able to drive the family car, you should stop by your local auto repair shop. Getting your car a tune up is the best way to make sure it is in the best shape for your teen to be driving. It is important to ensure that things, such as your breaking system, tires and air bags, are working properly.

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