When your kids grow into teenagers, you know it’s only a matter of time before they start thinking about getting a driver’s license. Soon after this, you’ll be picking out their very first car. Naturally, they’d like to be cruising around in a head-turner, yet safety happens to be on the top of your list - so how do you choose one that makes everyone happy, without breaking the bank?
New or old?
Parents seem to agree that teenagers should not be driving brand new cars. Mainly, because they’re more likely to damage the vehicle than an experienced driver, but also because those important safety features are often just as advanced in used cars.
Rather than buying the cheapest new car you can find, have a look at the mid-range used ones and get all the latest features to keep the youngest safe. It’s a good idea to compare crash test ratings if you’re between models rather than looking at the size, especially when it’s meant for a young driver.
In case you’re set on buying them a new one, take a look at this article for a list of the top new cars teenagers wish their parents bought for them.
Although you have different priorities in a car, the two of you will probably agree on a few things. A minimum of six airbags, power windows, locks and air conditioning are often something you expect to find in a decent car these days; if your son or daughter is pulling you in the direction of a vehicle without these essentials, please steer away.
Sometimes the case is that you don’t agree on a vehicle at all. Avoid disappointment by talking together, no matter how obvious it seems, about how the car should be a good fit for the entire family. Your teenager might be the one driving the car to and from school, but it should still fit in with your budget. Also, having a license does not necessarily mean that they’re as comfortable behind the wheel as you think. Talk the importance of road safety, car maintenance, and insurance.
A teenage driver is a relatively new addition to the road, so it is important that they’ve been trained by a proper driving school until they feel confident. Some schools offer more thorough training than others, such as Drive Rite 5 hour pre-licensing course, but make sure you pick the best one by knowing what to look for in a driving school before you make your choice. This article gives a pretty good overview of the basics.
Deciding on a car for your child is something that will keep many parents up at night. Don’t worry; you’re not alone, and at the end of the day you simply weigh all the options above and buy the one you both like. It might not be your first choice of a car as safe as a tank - or even their first pick of a luxury ride, but it will meet your criteria of a safe and good car.
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