Getting a driver’s license can be an exciting period in the life of a teenager. Many teens in Western North Carolina and throughout the US are also fortunate to get their first vehicle right around the same time. If you’re a parent thinking of getting a vehicle for your newly licensed teenage child, there are a few points you should keep in mind when making a choice.
First, teen drivers are not always the safest drivers. In fact, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15 to 20-year-olds. Safe driving may be second nature for adults, but as new drivers, teens need to be mindful of many things when on the road. As a parent, you can help keep them safe by making sure they are driving a vehicle that is best suited for their situation.
Second, although your child might long for a stylish SUV, cool sports car or speedy motorcycle, these types of vehicles are generally not the best choices for teen drivers. Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are top heavy and can flip over easily when driven carelessly. In addition, sports cars and sport bikes often provide a lower level of protection while also encouraging reckless driving.
Third, another important consideration for parents is the quality of safety features that come with the vehicle. Items such as an antilock braking system (ABS), daytime running lights, electronic stability control (ESC), airbags and adjustable/lockable head restraints can increase the protection of teen drivers and their passengers. These features can also help prevent accidents from happening.
A used vehicle can often be a more cost-effective purchase than a used one. However, when making a choice between a new or used vehicle, it’s wise to carefully review the safety capabilities. Used vehicles that are too old may not have the same sort of safety features as a new vehicle. Additionally, used vehicles may have safety features or other components that don’t function as well as they should. Before purchasing a used vehicle for your teen, be sure to research and inspect it thoroughly, including brakes, lights and tire pressure.
Fourth, is communication is one of the best ways to keep your teen safe in any vehicle, new, used or shared. Many parents have contracts or agreements with their teens that specify various types of safe driving behavior. These agreements can include anything from the times that the vehicle can be operated to the number of passengers the teen can transport at one time.
Parents should take an active role in reinforcing safe driving practices with their teen driver. With proper training, oversight and vehicle selection, you can help your child avoid car accidents and keep the road of North Carolina safe for all drivers. If you have any questions about an accident involving a loved one and you think we can help, please give us a call at (828) 505-4300. We serve all areas of North Carolina including Charlotte, Asheville, Greenville, Raleigh, Durham and Black Mountain.
Last updated 7/5/2015