Buying your first car can be overwhelming, especially if it’s a parent trying to purchase a safe and reliable car for the first time for their teen driver. Keeping this age group safe on roadways is not easy so our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers recommend getting some guidance to help determine the safest car for your teen to drive.
Teens are often involved in distracted, speed-related or aggressive driving accidents in Margate and Port St. Lucie because they lack the knowledge and experience needed to avoid a collision with another vehicle. Purchasing a sports car that can go really fast or a brand new fully loaded vehicle with tons of in-vehicle distractions is probably not the best option for your young driver.
A teen driver should never have a better car than what his or her parents are driving. If your teen wants to take on the responsibility of driving, then they should also take on the responsibility of owning a car by chipping into a “my first car” fund set aside to pay for gas, insurance, maintenance or car payments. Money earned from summer jobs, gifts or allowance is a good way for a teen to contribute to the privilege of having their own car to drive at such a young age.
The average household with a teen driver spends roughly $3,100 a year for the teen to drive. Add your teen to your car policy to save a little money or consider the cost of insurance before signing on the dotted line for that new vehicle. Keep in mind that insurance agencies often offer discounts for multiple policies, good grades and defensive driving courses as a way to save money.
One misconception that parents are faced with is that teens need to have a car sitting in the driveway waiting for them the day they come home with a full license in their hand. Daily Finance reports that parents crumble to peer pressure as easily as teens but should by no means give in to buying a car just because other parents are doing so for their teens.
The prices of used cars and insurance premiums have risen recently so determining whether a new or used car fits into the family budget is a key component in deciding what kind of car to purchase. Risking buying a lemon as opposed to hefty car and insurance payments can be tough to weigh.
“If you buy a certified pre-owned car you get the advantages of a new-car like warranty, and perhaps, better financing rates,” says Jack Nerad, executive editorial director for Kelley Blue Book.
Driving distance and duration of ownership are also important questions you should consider before purchasing. If your teen will mostly drive locally and only use the car for a year or two then a cheaper used model may be a more viable option. If you intend to keep the car for a longer period of time or the vehicle may be used for your teen to commute back and forth to college then purchasing a new car should be considered.
Organizations like Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, J. D. Power and Associates and Safercar.gov are all valuable resources in determining safety ratings and what safety technology is important to keeping your teen safe in the car. Electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and airbags come equipped in most vehicles but no car should be purchased without these safety features.
“Choose a car with a responsive chassis — one with good handling, quick steering and great brakes — that takes advantage of a teen driver’s naturally quick reaction skills,” advises Bob Gritzinger, executive editor of AutoWeek.com.
New safety features to consider are ones geared toward teen drivers. For example, Hyundai Blue Link alerts the owner of the vehicle when the car is driven outside a determined parameter or after certain parts of the day when the vehicle should be idle.
Setting the tone is the final step before you hand over the keys to your teen driver. Parents may find it helpful to write up a parent-teen agreement for what is expected of your teen and rules that are meant to be followed. Setting up a standard for what happens if your child receives a ticket, gets in an accident or breaks curfew is important before the teen sits behind the wheel for the first time.
Additional information for purchasing a safe car can be found in the Purchasing with Safety in Mind guide.
If your teen driver has been involved in a car accident in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami contact the car accident attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free no-obligation appointment at 1-800-561-7777.
Buying Your Teenager’s First Car: What You Need to Know, by Sheryl Nance-Nash, Daily Finance
Leadership Awards Recognize Efforts Made to Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Margate, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 20, 2011
73-Year-Old Woman Killed in Fort Lauderdale Teen Car Accident, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 11, 2011