This guest post by Jason Lancaster, author of AccurateAutoAdvice.com.
Selecting a good vehicle for your teenage driver can be a little nerve-racking. Between checking safety ratings, reliability reports, and the near-constant vehicle input from your teenager, the task can even become a little overwhelming. While choosing the right car comes down to a lot of personal factors, here’s a list of cars you should always steer clear of when it’s time to buy a car for your teen.
1. Sports Cars and Sport Trucks. Buying a sports car or sport truck for your teen is a bad idea. Insurance costs are astronomical, gas mileage is never good, and there’s a very real concern that even the most responsible and mild-mannered teen will succumb to peer pressure and push the limits of their fast vehicle (with sometimes tragic consequences). I’ve included “sport trucks” because many newer full-size pickup trucks have extremely powerful engines that can go very fast. If you’re not sure what qualifies as a sports car or sport truck, talk to your insurance agent.
2. Large SUVs. Large SUVs seem like a great choice for a teen. They’re big, they’re almost always safe, and they can’t be driven too fast. While all of that is true, a large SUV is a bad choice because it is difficult to handle in an emergency (difficult to steer and sometimes impossible to stop). In-experienced drivers often find themselves in a bad situation at some point in their young driving career, and a more nimble vehicle often makes the difference between a close-call and an accident.
3. Any vehicle with lots of seating. This might surprise a few parents, but over-sized vehicles are typically not a safe choice for a teen driver. Not only are they unwieldy (see above), but the ample seating also provides plenty of opportunities for distraction. A distracted teen driver is obviously unsafe.
4. Convertibles. Convertibles are always cool, but they’re not usually very safe. The lack of a roof invariably weakens the vehicle’s structure, reducing crash-worthiness as well as providing little or no roll-over protection. Most convertibles also come with sporty engines, another no-no. Tell your teen to save the convertible for their mid-life crisis (like everyone else).
5. Motorcycles. I believe very strongly that any parent stupid enough to buy their teen a motorcycle for use as a daily driver should be reported to child services. Not only are motorcycles notoriously unsafe, but they offer absolutely no protection from other drivers on the road. Even if your teen is a model citizen while riding his or her motorcycle (highly unlikely, by the way), your teen has no control over the actions of others. Why risk such a young life?
So what type of vehicle IS a good choice for a teen driver? Your typical, run-of-the-mill family car is ideal. They’re inexpensive to buy, drive, and insure, they’re nimble and easy to maneuver in a difficult situation, they have more than enough power for everyday driving without being sporty, and they’re usually very safe. If only they were cool…