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Car Shopping and Your Teen: Common Sense Ways to Narrow the Choices

key-791390_640For any parent, finding out that their teen has passed their test and is now ready to hit the road, is a mixture of pride in their achievement followed by a real sense of uncertainty about what car to guide them towards.

Clearly, as parents and because of the obvious age gap, you will have some set ideas about which type and size of car would be most suitable for them, whilst their vision of what they want to be behind the wheel of will almost certainly be quite different.

Striking a balance

It is quite understandable that any concerned parent will want to try and protect their child and seeing them drive off on their own is a scary thought, which is why safety features are normally near the top of your priorities when choosing a car with your teen driver.

Brands like Volkswagen often fare well in safety tests and the task for parents is to try and strike a balance with their own list of preferences, which will almost certainly differ from their teen son or daughter’s list of preferences.

Of course they want a car that looks cool and probably has a bit more power than you would be comfortable with as a parent trying to guide them towards something more sensible.

Many parents help their children buy their first car, which means you have some autonomy on the choice of vehicle, which hopefully will mean that you can find a way of satisfying your desire for good safety features and guiding them towards a car that is an acceptable compromise between parent and teen.

Promoting incident-free driving

The majority of states have graduated driver licensing laws (GDL), and a good starting is to sit down with your teen and make them aware of why these laws are in place.

Novice drivers have high crash rates and this is primarily because they lack the experience that takes time to gain, which puts them at higher level of risk of being involved with or causing an accident whilst driving.

States where GDL laws are in place are able to demonstrate a substantially lower accident rate when compared with states that do not observe these laws.

The relevance of talking about GDL with your teen is to try and encourage a greater awareness of the dangers they face and discuss the need for not only safety-first tactics whenever they get behind the wheel but the importance of finding a car that offers good safety features as a priority over the street appeal of the car.

Safe cars

There are of course plenty of good looking cars that also boast some excellent safety features so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a vehicle which ticks boxes on both fronts.

Sites like safercar.gov can provide you with unbiased crash test safety ratings and other critical data that can help you create a potential shortlist of vehicles that might be suitable to buy and both parent and teen are happy with.

Each car is given a safety rating that is based on how well they perform in tests overall, covering front and rear crash tests, plus side and roller impact data.

Suitable size

Another key point that you will need to consider is vehicle size.

Some parents might take the view that if they buy their teen a larger vehicle like a SUV, it provide them with a bit more protection than a smaller car, but the problem with a larger vehicle is that teens with no real driving experience are likely to find a large vehicle harder to control and manage.

Larger vehicles like trucks and SUV’s also tend to have a higher center of gravity, and the significance of this point is that it does make it more likely that a rollover will occur if the driver loses control.

The counter argument regarding some of the smallest compacts and subcompacts available on the market is that not all of these models fare very well compared to larger models when it comes to crash protection.

Therefore midsize might be the right compromise, as you should be able to find a model which offers you a good balance of safety and maneuverability, meaning your teen can sharpen their driving skills as safely as possible.

Getting your teen on the road after they pass their driving test can be a daunting task, but if you narrow down your choices uses some sound common sense questions, you should be able to go out and buy their first car with a bit more confidence.

Erik Hervas is a Marketing expert at Autofoco.com, a company that publishes car listings in Argentina. They provide a friendly platform to help users sell their cars and attract buyers by promoting the listings through many channels. Erik has worked for many companies in marketing and he is currently seeking to succeed with Seminuevos.com. He graduated as Food Engineer in 2004 but after owning his business he decided to pursue a career in the Marketing field. He currently reside in Ecuador with his wife and two children.

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