Buying Used Vehicles: Safety Recommendations For Teens

Many teens are not driving safe enough vehicles, according to new research conducted by the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

IIHS surveyed 500 parents about the cars their teens drive and found many of the chosen vehicles lack good crash protection and important safety features. This is because 83 per cent of parents surveyed said they bought their teenagers used vehicles, and two-thirds said the vehicles were from 2006 or earlier when safety features, like electronic stability control (ESC) and side airbags were less common.

Used vehicles are a great way to provide your child with a car, especially when buying on a budget. But, says the research, parents are not making the safest or most contemporary choices. As such, IIHS outlined four recommendations for buying used vehicles for teens:


  1. Avoid high horsepower - These powerful vehicles may tempt teens to "test the limits"
  2. Bigger is better - Bigger, heavier vehicles typically protect better in a crash.
  3. Electronic Stability Control is a must - This feature helps drivers maintain control, especially on curvy and slippery roads. The safety of ESC has been compared to seat belts. This is especially true for large vehicles such as SUVs, which have the potential to roll over without it
  4. Pay attention to safety ratings - Before purchasing a vehicle, read up on safety ratings and features. Specifically, IIHS advises parents to choose vehicles that perform well in IIHS's moderate overlap front tests and side crash tests, as well as at least four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

"Unfortunately, it's very difficult to get a safe vehicle for a teenager at the prices most people are paying," says Anne McCartt, IIHS senior vice president for research, on IIHS's website. "Our advice to parents would be to remember the risks teens take and consider paying a little more."

Parents should also remember that updated vehicles with modern safety features often cost less to insure than similar vehicles that do not contain important safety technology. When factoring this into the budget, KANETIX makes it easy to compare teen car insurance online.

Among IIHS's list of almost 100 recommended used vehicles for teen drivers, the following cars are featured:

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  • Toyota Prius V, 2012 and later
  • Ford Taurus, 2010 and later
  • Mazda 6, 2009 and later
  • Mitsubishi Outlander, 2007 and later
  • Kia Sedona, 2006 and later

For the full list of best cars for teens and good cars for teens as determined by the IIHS, click here.

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