With a high number of accidents caused by young, inexperienced, or teenage drivers, it’s no wonder that parents are often searching for the safest buys when looking for cars for their children. Safety features can make an enormous difference to driveability, shock absorption, and protection. Our experts have compiled a guide to finding the safest car choices for teen drivers.
Are All Cars Tested for Safety?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs crash-testing on 85% of new vehicle models (over 97% of passenger vehicles sold), using a star-rating system. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is another important organization offering quality assurance to look out for when buying a vehicle.
It’s sometimes difficult to find crash-test scores for large SUVs, luxury cars, low-volume models, and sports cars – for these, you would need to do your own research and consult with experts as far as possible.
Are Old Cars Safe for Teenagers to Drive?
First, let’s define “old”. Anything more than 10 years old is a good marker. While there are special cases of “miracle” older models of cars that have been significantly re-done, for the most part, buying an old car for your teen driver who is still learning to drive is a bad idea. Here’s why:
Parts Breaking Unexpectedly
These cars will most likely have recurring problems, making them inherently less safe to drive for anyone, let alone novice drivers without the experience to handle it. Think of something breaking unexpectedly and the driver having to react or defend against it in the heat of the moment. More experienced drivers will probably have a much quicker reaction time, or have an idea of how to handle the car, while teen or beginner drivers might simply have a panic attack!
Relatively newer features such as power steering or smooth gears allow for a much easier driving experience, which inevitably prevents knock-on problems (stalling, etc.).
A lack of stability is another common problem in older cars. Studies have shown that a high number of accidents in older models are due to instability (when compared with the stability of newer vehicles). This is why it is essential to practice defensive driving.
Lack of Modern Safety Features
Airbags and other similar advancements in car production add peace of mind.
Other Reasons to Avoid Old Cars
Older models (especially those older than 10 years) will increase insurance premiums significantly. While you may be saving in the short term by buying a cheaper, older car, the costs of insurance will stack up quickly (alongside expensive repairs).
What Are the Safest Cars for Teen Drivers?
These are some of the safest cars for teen drivers in 2022, in a mid-range price bracket:
- Honda: 2022 Accord
- Ford: Bronco Sport, Explorer
- Hyundai: Nexo, Palisade, Santa Fe (examples built after July 2021), Tucson
- Kia: K5, Stinger
- Mazda: Mazda3 (hatchback and sedan), CX-30, CX-5, CX-9
- Nissan: Altima, Maxima, Murano, Rogue
- Toyota: Camry, Highlander, Sienna
- Volkswagen: ID.4
Higher Price Picks
Here are our top choices for safety in a higher price range:
- Audi: A6, A6 Allroad, and A7
- Acura: TLX
- Genesis: G70, G80, G90
- Lexus: ES 350, IS
- Mercedes-Benz: E-Class
- Tesla: Model 3
- Volvo: S90 and S90 Recharge
Top SUVs and other Larger Models
Some of our best SUV and larger model car picks include:
- Tesla: Model Y
- Mazda: CX-30
- Subaru: Ascent
- Chevrolet: Bolt EUV
- Nissan: Murano
What Else Can You Do to Improve Safety Levels for Your Teen Driver?
As a parent, three of the other most important and useful things you can do to minimize the chances of your child or loved one having an accident are:
- Help your child by guiding them in plenty of driving practice, or find another trusted adult driver to accompany and guide them for practice.
- Organize things so that your child is practicing in the same car that they are taking the road test in.
- Find the best lessons for teenagers nearby and enroll them in classes to make sure they are getting the professional driving tuition they need. There are numerous complex aspects to the latest tests which your knowledge won’t cover, as the rules have been updated in recent years. It’s vital that they cover all the technicalities in order to pass the driving test.
Notes on Learner’s Permits
First thing’s first: help your teen get their learner’s permit! Find out what to bring for a learner’s permit here. It’s also worth noting that a high score on a learner’s permit test will help young drivers enormously in their understanding and preparedness for the road test.
Driven2Drive—the Best School for Your Teen’s New Journey
Book professional lessons for your teen now by calling 610-664-7400 or sending us a direct message, and we promise to support, protect, and guide your loved one as we do our own kids! Let’s get you driving!
Driven2Drive is a premier driving school and the leader in Driver’s Education. From our dedicated team of instructors to our innovative state-of-the-art Driving & License Testing Centers, we are committed to instilling safe driving habits for life in a fun and interactive atmosphere. Experience the Driven2Drive difference at any of our conveniently located centers.