New drivers in Bristol are at a much higher risk of causing an accident. The increased accident risks facing these motorists are largely related to lack of driving experience. New drivers may not anticipate hazards as well as other drivers, and many new drivers are teens who might lack the maturity to operate a car safely.
Thus, parents should keep safety in mind when choosing the best cars for new drivers.
Best Cars for New Drivers
Auto safety experts agree — cars for teenage drivers must include crash protection features and discourage aggressive driving.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provides some criteria for choosing a car for a teen driver.
- Lower horsepower: A more powerful engine simply encourages teenagers to drive at excessive speeds, significantly increasing risks of an accident.
- Larger size and bulk: Smaller SUVs and midsize cars can be good options and provide better protection than smaller cars. Of course, make sure the vehicle is one that your new driver is capable of handling.
- Crash protection: Features like electronic stability control systems are not expensive and are now available as standard features on many automobiles. Look for not only electronic stability control, but also antilock brakes, comprehensive airbags and even front-crash prevention systems.
- Safety ratings: Check the IIHS safety ratings of the safest cars on the market today, as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety ratings. Choose vehicles that perform well in crash tests.
In some cases, it can be difficult finding all of these features in a used car, and many teens’ first vehicles are used cars. But finding a used car that offers adequate safety features is possible with a little research. There also may be moderately priced new cars that offer more advanced safety features.
Worst Cars for New Motorists
Simply considering the opposite of the criteria for the best cars for new drivers can help parents identify which may be the worst cars for new drivers.
Avoid buying your teenage driver a sports car with lots of horsepower. This may increase the temptation to drive aggressively, speed or perform dangerous maneuvers. Avoid minicars or small cars, too. The IIHS’s list of recommended used cars for teen drivers did not include any minicars or small cars because these may not provide the same level of protection as midsize cars or small SUVs.
Finally, avoid cars that perform poorly on crash tests or that do not come with more modern safety features. This requires doing some research into each vehicle you consider.
Vehicle Safety for New Drivers Doesn’t Stop at Choosing the Right Car
Choosing the best cars for new drivers is just one facet of making sure that your teenager is safe while driving. It’s also important to educate your teenager about avoiding driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, avoiding cell phone use while driving, and the need to comply with graduated driver licensing rules at all times. Violations of these rules contribute to many teen driver accidents.
And, of course, speak with your teen about driving aggressively or speeding. Even vehicles with relatively little horsepower can achieve speeds that greatly exceed the speed limit. Set rules and establish the consequences for violating those rules.
Meanwhile, if your teen is injured because of another driver’s negligent behavior, you can take legal action to file a claim for damages. Call 215-642-2335 to speak with a car accident lawyer at Cordisco & Saile LLC if you’re in the Bristol area or schedule a free initial consultation by filling out the online contact form.