As a parent, you’re often caught between being proud to see your children grow up, and wishing they could stay small for a while longer. Though you may be tired of playing chauffeur for every soccer practice and after school club, it’s still bittersweet when your kids no longer need you to drive them around. Before your child gets a driver’s license and hits the road, make sure they’re safe by choosing a safe and practical first car for your teen driver.
How to Choose Your Teen’s First Car
Even the most responsible teen drivers are less experienced than adults who have been driving for years. While you have to trust that your child follows the traffic laws and safety measures you taught them (or that they learned in Driver’s Education), it’s still a smart idea to choose a car that will offer the most protection in case of an accident. Some things to consider:
- Bigger is NOT better. People tend to think that the bigger a vehicle is, the safer it is, but SUVs and trucks are actually more likely to roll over in a crash. Instead, opt for a late-model mid- to full-size car. These types of cars are a happy medium between roll-prone SUVs and small cars that are too small and light to provide protection in a crash.
- Look for safety features. It goes without saying that the car needs to have driver and passenger airbags, but if possible, you’ll also want a car that has side and curtain airbags for the most protection. Other safety features can help your teen stay safe too, like anti-lock brakes, seat belt alarms, and electronic stability control.
- Avoid temptation. Look, even adults are often tempted to see how far they can push a fast, sporty car. While it might not be the coolest car in the lot, choosing a less Fast and the Furious-esque car will likely reduce your teen’s inclination to speed.
While we all hope and pray that our teens drive safely, accidents happen. Whether it’s a collision with another car or a failed attempt at backing out of a tricky parking spot, you will probably be glad you went with a used car if you have a teen driver. Shop around, inspect (or have your mechanic inspect) the car, and strike a balance between value and safety.
Other costs to keep in mind include:
- Gas money
- Cost of insurance
- Cost of traffic or parking tickets
And last, but certainly not least, look for a first car for your teen driver that is dependable! You worry enough about your kids without them breaking down on the side of the road. See if the car has a warranty, get a car history report to ensure it hasn’t been flooded or damaged in an accident, and steer clear if the mileage is high.
No matter what you choose for your teen’s first car, remember that you can save money and keep your vehicles running great with used auto parts from U Wrench It!