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Car-buying tips to keep teen drivers safe

Daughter and mother in car, daughter driving, both smiling
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A young person’s first vehicle is their initial taste of freedom and as a parent you want to do everything in your power to ensure safety for your child. But sometimes that safety comes with a higher price tag and can feel overwhelming. Whether you’re purchasing a brand new vehicle or financing a used one there are a few tips to keep in mind to keep your teen driver safe on the road.  

6 tips to keep your teen driver safe 

Your teen’s safety is paramount, and there are factors outside of what you pick on the car lot to support that safety. Consider these tips when car shopping for your new driver.  

1. Invest in driving school  

Before your teen even gets behind the wheel of their own vehicle it is wise to enroll them in driving school. Classes can be found in your community and are offered in either group or solo settings. It is a great way to ensure that they know the rules of the road and will be taught by a professional. Some insurance companies also offer benefits for new drivers who complete driving classes. 

2. Consider the safety features  

Most vehicles on the market today come with advanced safety features that keep drivers safe and can give you peace of mind at home. Some specific features to look out for include blind-spot detection, lane alerts, automatic braking and rearview cameras. Although some of this tech comes with a higher price tag, try and get a vehicle with at least some of these features. 

3. Calculate the true cost of vehicle ownership  

You probably already know the cost of owning a car goes beyond the initial price tag. This is especially important when it comes to a teen’s first car if they’re pitching in financially. Calculations should include gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance and registration fees among other costs. Check out current rates if you plan to finance the vehicle. 

4. Avoid high power vehicles  

When choosing the right vehicle, it is important to consider the reputation and horsepower of the car. It is probably not the best idea to allow your new driver to get behind the wheel of a vehicle made for speed. Avoid the V-6 engine and stick with a more traditional four-cylinder that is capable without pushing past the speed limits posted.  

5. Take a test drive   

After setting your sights on the potential vehicle, plan a test drive that involves your teen driver. If they have a learner’s permit a test drive can be arranged. Your teen will get a legitimate feel for the vehicle and its handling, and whether it’s a good fit for them.  

Next steps 

Your teen will be accountable for their safety on the road, but you can give them the tools to better do so. Following these tips will ease your mind and ensure that your child can take full advantage of their new-found freedom while remaining responsible.  

Written by
Rebecca Betterton
Auto Loans Reporter
Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase a car.
Edited by
Auto loans editor