The dread day is here – your child has his or her driver’s license, and desperately neeeeds their own car. But which car do you buy them? Ignore that grasping hand trying to drag you over to the shiny new sports car. There are reasons why the insurance is so high on those cars.
Teen drivers lack experience, are easily distracted, and have more frequent and severe accidents. Passive safety features (those that work without anyone having to turn them on or fasten them) are the way to go.
Bryan Mac Murray, Outreach Specialist at Personal Injury Help, gave us today’s blog on car safety features:
The Eight Most Important Safety Features to Look for in a Car
Regardless of whether you are looking for a new car or an old car for your teen, there are safety features available that can have a significant impact on the outcome of a crash. Here are the most important safety features, in order, to look for when choosing a car:
- Electronic stability control is a must. A mandatory technological feature since the 2012 model year, this helps the driver keep control of the vehicle on slick roads and curves. It has been proven to be an effective safety device cutting the single-vehicle crash risk in nearly half. Because teens are often inexperienced behind the wheel, electronic stability control should be near the top of your priority list.
- Anti-lock brakes provide more reliable braking and help the vehicle stop without the brakes locking and causing the car to skid off the road. Anti-lock brakes will bring the car to a stop faster, which is great for teens who may not be as attentive as adult drivers.
- Airbags are a necessity. While most newer cars are equipped with six airbags, there are cars that have as many as 10. Each of these airbags can significantly protect in an impact. There are front airbags, front-seat side-mounted airbags, two side mounted airbags, driver’s knee airbags, and even overhead airbags that deploy during a rollover.
- Automatic crash notification which is subscription-based. Using a built-in phone system, it will call a live operator who is able to pinpoint the car’s exact location and send emergency services to the location. Several automakers now offer this system and you can even have a system installed on most newer vehicles.
- A dedicated navigation system is a good idea, as it can keep teens from using their phone’s navigation while driving.
- An app to prevent cellphone use while your teen is driving. Depending on your level of comfort with technology, it may be a good idea to look for one of these apps and install them for your teens. Some are free; some require a subscription.
- Automatic braking can determine if a vehicle is about to be in an accident and will automatically apply the brakes, attempting to avoid a collision. This feature has proven very effective.
- Forward-collision warning (FCW) will warn teens when a crash is imminent. It uses radar, laser, and camera to detect an imminent crash and to warn the driver so he or she can attempt to avoid an accident.
Research the Safety Rating
While looking for a vehicle with the proper safety features, you should also research the car’s safety rating. Of course, a five-star safety rating means the car is much safer than the average vehicle. Safer vehicles have good ratings in 4 areas: moderate overlap front, roof strength, side, and head restraint tests. In order for a vehicle to be recommended for a teen, it should earn 4 or 5 stars overall if rated by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). It’s also a good practice to check for any safety recalls on any cars you may be considering – if it doesn’t have proof that it was made safe, you may need to move on.
When purchasing a car for a teen, buy a vehicle with as many safety features as you can afford. Safety features are important for all vehicles, but much more vital for the safety of young inexperienced drivers who are just now venturing out on roads and learning proper driving techniques.