Picking a Car for Your Teen: Safety Is Key When Your Child’s Ready to Drive

YOUNG DRIVERS HAVE a crash rate three times higher than older motorists, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and they are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

In fact, auto accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths.

“Choosing the vehicle your teen drives is one of the most important decisions you’ll make about your teen’s safety,” says Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the IIHS. One of the most important factors to consider is crash protection, given teens’ higher risk of accidents.

You may think bigger is better, but that’s not always the case, McCartt says. Here’s what she suggests:

  • Steer clear of both compact cars and large sport utility vehicles or minivans, which may be more difficult for inexperienced teen drivers to control.
  • Look for high safety ratings, which may also help reduce your teen’s insurance premiums in those early driving years.
  • Opt for electronic stability control, which helps drivers maintain control on curves and slippery roads.

Of course, a safe car doesn’t replace safe driving. Look for in-vehicle tools that can help promote safe driving habits at USAA’s Coaching Young Drivers.

“Our members are concerned about their teens’ safety,” says Shayna Dickson, senior Property & Casualty staff underwriter for USAA. “We are helping teens drive smarter and giving mom and dad peace of mind while the teen is learning to drive.”

See the list of Top 10 Teen Cars.
Find the perfect new or used vehicle through the USAA Car Buying Service



 USAA Car Buying Service provided by TrueCar, Inc. USAA Bank receives marketing fees in connection with the Car Buying Service. Photo provided by TrueCar.