Teen drivers still have much to learn on the road, so it’s important to keep them protected as they continue to gain experience. Shopping for your teen’s first car? The ideal vehicle should have as many of these five automotive safety features as possible.
5 Car Safety Features for Teen Drivers
Not everyone has the money for a brand-new vehicle, but when it comes to young drivers, try to give them the latest model your budget can afford. This can also mean prioritizing safety features over some convenience and comfort luxuries. The good news is that some of these safety features can already be found on older models, while you can get some as add-ons:
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
This is a brilliant piece of car tech than can sense when your teen driver starts to lose control of the vehicle – for instance, when slippery roads cause them to spin or swerve. When this happens, ESC will automatically apply corrective action such as braking on individual wheels.
While electronic stability control can’t eliminate all risk for accidents, it’s proven so effective that since the 2012 model year, the government has required every car to have this feature.
Your teen drivers may know their way around yet, and a navigation system saves them the frustration and distraction of getting lost. New models already have built-in navigation or GPS, but you can also outfit a used car with a cheaper TomTom or Garmin unit which will get the job done equally well.
- Parental Controls
Establish limits for your teen driver with the Parental Control feature. One example is Ford’s MyKey system, which lets you customize a specific key to limit the max speed your teen can drive. Infiniti and Hyundai also have online systems that will alert instantly if your young driver goes over the max speed or drives out of programmed geographical boundaries.
It’s never advisable to use the phone while driving, but you also want to be able to reach your teen if needed. Bluetooth provides a safer alternative if your teen ever needs to use their phone on the road. It allows them to talk hands-free, and newer versions even read out texts to the driver or lets them send a scripted reply such as “Yes/No,” and “On My Way” when the car is not running.
- Automatic Crash Notifications
This lifesaving feature is a subscription-based option that calls a live operator who will send you information if your teen becomes involved in a car crash. They can forward the car’s exact location, and even dispatch emergency services if necessary. Numerous manufactures already offer this system such as Hyundai, Lexus, Ford, Toyota, Mercedes, and BMW. OnStar also offers OnStar FMV as an ala carte add-on to newer cars.
Extra Tips for Safer Teen Cars
Aside from safety features, here are two more things to keep in mind when buying a car for your teenager:
- The more air bags, the better – protect young drivers from all sides during a collision by getting a car with as many airbags as possible; some newer models offer up to 10 or more, including knee airbags
- Select the best visibility – using mirrors effectively is a skill that most young drivers still haven’t mastered, so make sure to choose a vehicle with big side mirrors to they can see their surroundings properly
It’s natural to worry about your teen getting behind the wheel, but these safety features will help give you peace of mind and keep them protected wherever they go.