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Safe Cars for Teens

Selecting the best options for your new teen driver

A Rite of Passage

If your teenager has just gotten their driver’s license, it may be hard to imagine handing over the keys to your brand new car, but that might just be the smartest vehicle to choose. The first years teenagers spend as drivers are very risky. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of 14- to 18-year-olds in America. 2,105 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes in 2011. Almost half (45%) of those teen drivers died in those crashes.


Choosing Your Teen's First Vehicle.

While getting a driver’s license is an exciting rite-of-passage for teens, it can be enough to make a parent frantic. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) say there are some things worried parents can do to protect their teens when choosing their first vehicle. Avoid vehicles that encourage reckless driving. Teen drivers not only lack experience, but may also lack maturity. As a result, speeding and reckless driving are common. Sports cars and other vehicles with high performance features, such as turbo-charging, are likely to encourage speeding. Choosing a vehicle with a more sedate image will reduce the chances your teen will be in a speed-related crash.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better. But Neither is Smaller. Or Older.

Don’t let your teen drive an unstable vehicle. 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 where a more stable car would, at worst, skid or spin out. Pick a vehicle that offers good crash protection. Teenagers should drive vehicles that offer state-of-the-art protection in case they do crash.


Size (And Vehicle Age) Matters.

Don’t let your teen drive a small vehicle, either. 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 at

Also, avoid older vehicles. Most of today’s cars are better designed for crash protection than cars of six to ten years 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, consult the U.S. Department of Transportation ( or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (

Make Sure Your Family
is Covered.

These tips are brought to you by USI Affinity to ensure the safety and security of you and your family. Learn more and find out how to get your auto and homeowners insurance in-sync with your needs at special group rates by calling 1-888-577-7771.