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This is another two-edged sword topic; the title could suggest that choosing a particular make and model car somehow overcomes the risks discussed in previous posts. This is not the case, and the only advice for this topic that is consistent with this blog is: the best car for a teen is no car.
I concede, however, that much of this blog is about bowing to and then proactively managing reality, so let me present the accumulated wisdom on this topic.
The best practices here are not rocket science. Cars with the most safety features are the best. The characteristics to consider for a teen driver’s car are:
- electronic stability control;
- air bags (driver, front passenger, sides);
- vehicle weight to horsepower ratio (which some experts say should be less than 15:1);
- rollover ratings (the vehicle’s center of gravity, with SUVs and pick-up trucks having higher ones);
- anti-lock brakes;
- visibility on all sides from the driver’s seat;
- crumple zones; and
- steel reinforced doors.
Obviously, automobile technology is always evolving, and manufacturers are introducing new safety features each year, such as automatic stopping sensors and rear bumper cameras in the past two years. Experts and drivers need to evaluate these new gadgets to see if they improve safety and are cost-effective. Meanwhile, if you are considering buying a new or used car for a teen driver, the best advice is to not do so, and the second best advice is to take the time and spend the money to buy a vehicle that has as many of the safety features listed above as possible.