Many teens complete their driver’s education requirements over the summer or as the spring high school semester ends. That means that there are a lot of new teen drivers on the roads in the summer months, getting their "feet wet" driving for work and play.
With the driver’s license come many decisions. Will your teen use a family car? Will the family need a new car? Insurance must be updated to include your new driver, and the car they drive has a lot to do with the cost of insurance and fuel.
More important even than sticker prices and insurance premiums is the safety of brand new teen drivers. If you have decided that you need to buy a new or used vehicle to accommodate the needs of your family, you might be wondering if there are certain cars that will help keep your child safer.
Many teen drivers lean toward sporty, flashy cars or trucks, or whatever is popular at the moment. The good news is that there are plenty of safe, attractive models to choose from.
One of the top picks for sporty, safe cars is the Honda Civic. It’s a great all purpose car that also delivers above-average fuel efficiency combined with good looks. The Honda Civic has front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes. In the 2009 Hybrid and EX-L models, electronic stability control is also available as an option.
The Ford Focus also makes the list of safe vehicles, with a voice activated SYNC system for your teen’s cell phone and IPod, and standard airbags, antilock brakes and electronic stability control to ease your mind. Ford’s SYNC allows your young driver to place calls and search for their favorite tune while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
The Saturn Astra also offers standard safety equipment and optional stability control, and it has a racy look and a 1.8 liter engine that enables safe highway driving.
In addition to these, the Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer and Toyota Camry all deserve consideration. They are all rather medium sized and easy to handle and park. These stylish cars are reliable and come with standard and optional safety features.
Many teenage boys are attracted to the styling and functionality of SUVs. Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota have plenty of great safety rated models to choose from. Many parents feel the size of an SUV is another safety feature, but be sure to decide on the rules regarding friends in the car before purchasing a vehicle large enough to hold six.
Your insurance company will also help you make decisions in this area. Your auto insurance agents can provide price quotes and suggestions on new cars, trucks and SUVs to look at. Some companies even offer discounts for multiple cars, home and life if you buy with the same company. This can amount to a significant savings, especially if you have more than one teen driver in the family.
Many auto insurance companies also offer discounts for teens that maintain good school grades; be sure to ask about this when you call your agent. Planning for at least a year before your child starts driving will help you save money and avoid impulse buying. It will also give you time to think about ground rules, and what parts of the expense of driving will belong to your child. Having to pay for insurance and fuel is a good way to help your teen remain mindful that driving is a responsibility and a privilege.