Getting that first set of wheels is a rite of passage for many teens that’s on par with getting braces off, graduating from high school and going on a first date. Once you’ve figured out your budget and who’s going to pay for the vehicle, it’s time to think of the car’s features and plan to make sure you teenager stays safe on the road. Owning a car can help your teen become more responsible, both on the road and off.
The stats about teens and cars aren’t so hot. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are the most at risk for getting in an auto accident. The likelihood of getting into a crash increases when teens drive with other teens in the car and when a teen has just received his or her license.
When looking for a car for your teen, you want to put safety first. Search for models with driver, passenger and side airbags, as well as other safety features, such as seat belt reminders. Read reviews of various models to see how they rate when it comes to reliability and safety.
You don’t have to buy your teen a boring beige sedan. But you also want to avoid buying a shiny red sports car. Sporty vehicles tend to tempt teenagers on the road and are more likely to cause them to speed or otherwise drive recklessly.
Try Before You Buy
You might want to buy a car to surprise your teenager for a birthday or graduation gift. But it’s a better idea to involve him or her in the process, especially the test drive. A car that drives smoothly for you might be difficult for your teen to maneuver. Try to put the car through the paces during the test drive, including driving on curvy roads, getting on and off the highway, and going up and down hills.
Cleaning and Caring for the Car
Owning a car doesn’t just grant your teen freedom. It also helps him or her be responsible. Make your teen responsible for keeping the car clean and presentable. You can give him or her an air freshener to use in the car and car wash supplies. Also, make sure your teen knows to bring the car in for oil changes and inspections on a regular basis.
Rules Are A Must
Before you give your teenager the keys to the car, establish some ground rules, such as speed limits, curfews and passenger limits. It’s a good idea to have your teenager sign a driver’s contract. Outline your expectations in the contract and the consequences if your teen breaks any of the terms. By doing so, you will go a long way to protecting your child as they embark on this exciting passage into adulthood.