Columbia, SC, October 21, 2014 – While getting a driver's license is an exciting rite of passage for teens, it can be enough to make a parent frantic. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Insurance Information Institute (III) say there's something worried parents can do to protect their teens - choose a safe vehicle.
Teenagers should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of a crash and offer state-of-the-art protection in case they do crash. The first years teenagers spend as drivers are very risky. In fact, teen drivers have the highest death rates of any age group.
Teen drivers not only lack experience, for many of them immature behavior, such as speeding and reckless driving, is common. They may drive cautiously when mom or dad is in the car, but when they're on their own or with other teens, bad driving is often the norm. Keep this in mind when you decide which vehicle your teen will drive and avoid vehicles that encourage reckless driving.
Avoid choosing vehicles with a performance image. Sports cars and other vehicles with performance features, such as turbocharging, are likely to encourage speeding. Choosing a vehicle with a more sedate image reduces the chances your teen will be in a speed-related crash.
Sport utility vehicles, especially the smaller ones, are inherently less stable than cars because of their higher centers of gravity. Abrupt steering maneuvers (the kind that can occur when teens are fooling around or over-correcting a driver error) can cause rollovers in these less stable vehicles. A more stable car would, at worst, skid or spin out.
Even if your teenager drives a car with a sedate image, chances are still high that he or she may be involved in an auto accident. This is why it's also important to pick a vehicle that offers good crash protection.
Small vehicles offer much less protection in crashes than larger ones. However, this doesn't mean you should put your child in the largest vehicle you can find. Many mid- and full-size cars offer more than adequate crash protection. Check out the safety ratings for mid-size and larger cars.
Most of today's cars are better designed for crash protection than cars that were built a decade ago. For example, a newer mid-size car with airbags would be a better choice than an older, larger car without airbags.
Before you make a final choice on the car your teenager will drive, take advantage of the wealth of consumer information available on car safety from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and Insurance Information Institute. Check it out - it just may save your teen's life.
For more information from the S.C. Insurance News Service, or to schedule an interview, call (803)252-3455.
For over 35 years, the South Carolina Insurance News Service has been providing free insurance information to consumers and the media about property and casualty insurance issues.
For more information, contact the South Carolina Insurance News Service at 803-252-3455 or use our contact form.