As the parent of a teenage child, the prospect of your child getting behind the wheel of a vehicle can be very frightening. You want to keep your child safe. You want to avoid having your child either cause a car accident or become the victim of a crash that is someone else’s fault.
The problem is there is no way to ultimately guarantee your child’s safety. In Rhode Island, vehicle-related accidents are the leading cause of death among teen drivers between the ages of 13 and 19.
Need some tips for choosing a vehicle that can help keep your teen safe? Read on.
As a parent, your job is to teach your teenager safe driving habits, take action to minimize the risk of driver distractions such as texting, ensure that your teen driver is properly educated, and ensure that he or she has a dependable and safe first car.
We realize that choosing a safe first car for your teen driver is not an easy task. With so many cars new and used on the market, picking the right one can be difficult.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), many teens are driving unsafe vehicles. This increases the risk of car accidents that involve teen drivers. The following tips can help you find a car that is better equipped for safety while your child has a chance to develop driving skills and gain experience behind the wheel.
Avoid Excessive Horsepower
No matter how much your teen driver may want to drive a powerful car, this is not a good plan. Teens may want to see how far they can push the limits. Most new teen drivers can be expected to drive faster early on. It is recommended a new teen driver has a car that has just enough power to maintain safe speeds.
Choose a Sturdy Car
When it comes to cars, size does make a difference. Don’t be tempted to buy your teen driver a small vehicle simply because it may be cheaper. Opt for a heavier, sturdier car to help keep your teenager safe. However, don’t go too big. Large SUVs and pickups can be harder to drive and are more likely to roll over in an accident due to a high center of gravity. A standard-size family sedan is likely a good compromise.
Get a Car with High Safety Ratings
You are going to want to get your teen a car that has high safety ratings. Check crash test results for front, rear and side impacts, as well as the star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find a car that has a high safety rating.
Buy a Newer Vehicle with Up-to-Date Technology
While an older used vehicle may seem like a sound option for a teen driver, not all used cars have the most up-to-date technology and safety features, such as electronic stability control (ESC), side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes, crumple zones and other features. You don’t have to buy a brand-new vehicle, but do choose a car that was manufactured within the past five or ten years – and the newer the better. Despite the popular misconception that old cars were “built like a tank,” the safety features on newer cars are actually far superior and make them much safer.
What to Do If Your Teen Driver Is Injured in a Car Accident
If your teenager sustains injury in a car accident, particularly if it was caused by another driver’s negligence, get legal representation. A skilled attorney can help determine the actual cause of the accident, as well as assist in gathering the evidence necessary to establish who was at fault. With the help of an attorney, you can pursue justice on your child’s behalf and you will be afforded the opportunity to seek the compensation your child needs to facilitate his or her full recovery.
The Rhode Island car accident lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush provide free case reviews to motor vehicle accident victims and their families. Call us at (401) 443-2999 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices located in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: IIHS issues recommendations on used vehicles for teens after research finds many aren’t driving the safest ones