Turning 16 is an exciting age for most teenagers. It’s their first taste of adulthood and freedom, and it comes with a new (but most likely used) car. For parents, it’s both an exciting and frightening time. Their baby’s growing up, but a car comes with an array of responsibilities and potential hazards that can make any parent go gray.

Both parents and teen drivers should know the best kind of car for a new driver and what to expect when on the road, but with the number of options and the amount of information that can be found, it can be overwhelming to find the safest car for your budget.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there are safe, used cars for nearly any budget (the cars listed range from around $5,000 to $20,000). They have four recommendations that buyers should look for when car shopping:

  • Young drivers should stay away from high horsepower. Vehicles with more powerful engines can tempt them to test the limits.
  • Bigger, heavier vehicles protect better in a crash. There are no mini-cars or small cars on the recommended list. Small SUVs are included because their weight is similar to that of a midsize car.
  • ESC – technology that helps drivers maintain control of their vehicle during extreme steering maneuvers by keeping the vehicle headed in the driver’s intended direction – is a must. This feature, which helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads, reduces risk on a level comparable to safety belts.
  • Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible. At a minimum, that means good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front test, acceptable ratings in the IIHS side crash test and four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Buying the car is simply the first step and the truth of the matter is this: safety features in a vehicle are great to have – accidents happen. But the best way to avoid accidents is by paying attention to the road.

“I’m not worried about you driving; I’m worried about everyone else.” This a common phrase and it holds some truth, however, being safe while driving is a responsibility that is placed on every driver’s shoulders.

In the digital age, texting and driving has become exceedingly common. With the current teenagers who are learning how to drive, they’ve never existed in a time where cell phones were not a cultural norm. The comfort with technology leads people to believe that they can handle driving and texting safely.

Despite this, numbers don’t support this claim.

Taken from the Texting and Driving Safety website, the statistics provided reveal that texting and driving is never safe, no matter how it’s justified.

Texting While Driving Causes:

  1. 1,600,000 accidents per year – National Safety Council
  2. 330,000 injuries per year – Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study
  3. 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY – Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts
  4. Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents – National Safety Council

Texting While Driving Is:

  1. About 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated – VA. Tech Transportation Institute
  2. The same as driving after 4 beers – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
  3. The number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers – CDC

Texting While Driving:

  1. Makes you 23X more likely to crash – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
  2. Is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time – VA. Tech Transportation Institute
  3. Takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  4. Slows your brake reaction speed by 18% – HumanFactors & Ergonomics Society
  5. Leads to a 400% increase with eyes off the road – Health Research Funding

Car Accident

In other words, be safe. No text is so important that you should risk not only your life, but the lives around you. So often, we think about life or death situations in regards to driving, but it’s more than just that – becoming paralyzed, losing a limb or some other body part, enduring some sort of brain damage, or even just damaging your car – none of that is worth a text message. Put it down. It’ll be there when you get to where you’re going.

Unless it’s a time-sensitive message and you’re a real-life Ethan Hunt… but if that’s the case, then you have bigger things to worry about.

BEST CHOICES FOR TEENS UNDER $20,000.

These cars run more expensive but have better safety features.

LARGE CARS MODEL YEARS PRICE
Saab 9-5 sedan 2010 and later $17,500
Lincoln MKS 2009 and later $15,500
Buick Regal 2011 and later $13,500
Ford Taurus 2010 and later $13,500
Buick LaCrosse 2010 and later $12,900
Volvo S80 2007 and later $9,000
MIDSIZE CARS MODEL YEARS PRICE
Toyota Prius v 2012 and later $19,100
Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan 2009 and later $16,000
Honda Accord sedan 2012 and later; coupe 2013-14 $14,400
Audi A4 2009 and later $14,300
Toyota Camry 2012 and later $14,300
Buick Verano 2012 and later $14,100
Subaru Outback 2010 and later $14,000
Lincoln MKZ 2010 and later; built after April 2010 $13,500
Kia Optima 2011 and later $13,300
Hyundai Sonata 2011 and later $12,100
Subaru Legacy 2010 and later $11,900
Dodge Avenger 2011 and later $11,600
Audi A3 2008 and later $11,300
Volkswagen CC 2009 and later $11,200
Chevrolet Malibu 2010 and later; built after November 2009 $10,900
Chrysler 200 sedan 2011 and later $10,700
Mercury Milan 2010-11; built after April 2010 $10,700
Ford Fusion 2010 and later; built after April 2010 $10,200
Volkswagen Passat 2009 and later $10,000
Volvo C30 2008 and later $9,800
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen 2009 and later $9,400
Volkswagen Jetta 2009 and later $8,200

Honda CR-V

SMALL SUVs MODEL YEARS PRICE
Honda CR-V 2012 and later $18,100
Kia Sportage 2011 and later $13,800
Hyundai Tucson 2010 and later $13,100
Subaru Forester 2009 and later $12,800
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2011 and later $12,000
Volkswagen Tiguan 2009 and later $10,200
Honda Element 2007 and later $8,900
MIDSIZE SUVs MODEL YEARS PRICE
Volvo XC60 2010 and later $18,000
Saab 9-4X 2011-12 $17,800
Toyota Highlander 2008 and later $17,100
Toyota Venza 2009 and later $15,900
Ford Edge 2011 and later; built after February 2011 $15,500
Ford Flex 2010 and later $15,100
GMC Terrain 2010 and later $14,900
Kia Sorento 2011 and later $14,500
Infiniti EX 2008 and later $14,400
Chevrolet Equinox 2010 and later $13,700
Dodge Journey 2010 and later $11,200
Subaru Tribeca/B9 Tribeca 2006 and later $8,500
Volvo XC90 2005 and later $7,300
LARGE SUVs MODEL YEARS PRICE
Buick Enclave 2011 and later $19,900
GMC Acadia 2011 and later $17,800
Chevrolet Traverse 2011 and later $16,600
MINIVANS MODEL YEARS PRICE
Chrysler Town & Country 2012 and later $18,100
Honda Odyssey 2011 and later $17,100
Toyota Sienna 2011 and later $16,400
Dodge Grand Caravan 2012 and later $15,200
Volkswagen Routan 2012 $14,000

GOOD CHOICES FOR TEENS UNDER $10,000.

These are still solid choices for teenage drivers but a bit less expensive.

LARGE CARS MODEL YEARS PRICE
Acura RL 2005 and later $9,700
Mercury Sable 2009 $9,700
Kia Amanti 2009 $9,500
Ford Taurus 2009 $9,100
Audi A6 sedan 2005 and later $8,300
Hyundai Azera 2006 and later $5,700
MIDSIZE CARS MODEL YEARS PRICE
Subaru Legacy 2009 $9,900
BMW 3-series sedan 2006 and later $9,300
Mazda 6 2009 and later $8,900
Saturn Aura 2009 $8,800
Acura TL 2004 and later $7,900
Volvo S40 2007 and later $7,700
Audi A3 2006-07 $7,400
Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan 2005-08 $6,900
Suzuki Kizashi 2010 and later $6,600
Volvo S60 2007-09 $6,500
Audi A4 2005-08; built after October 2004 $6,200
Volkswagen Passat 2006-08 $5,100
Saab 9-3 2005 and later $4,000

Hyundai Azera

SMALL SUVs MODEL YEARS PRICE
Nissan Rogue 2008 and later $9,800
Ford Escape 2009 and later $8,700
Mazda Tribute 2009 and later $8,100
Mitsubishi Outlander 2007 and later $6,300
Suzuki Grand Vitara 2006 and later $5,600
MIDSIZE SUVs MODEL YEARS PRICE
Mazda CX-9 2007 and later $9,800
Ford Edge 2007-10 $9,600
Hyundai Veracruz 2007 and later $9,600
Hyundai Santa Fe 2007-10 $8,900
Honda Pilot 2006 and later $8,800
Saturn Vue 2008-09 $7,700
Ford Taurus X 2008-09 $7,500
Mazda CX-7 2007-11 $7,200
Suzuki XL7 2008-09 $6,200
MINIVANS MODEL YEARS PRICE
Volkswagen Routan 2009-11 $8,600
Dodge Grand Caravan 2008-11 $8,200
Chrysler Town & Country 2008-11 $8,100
Honda Odyssey 2005-10 $6,700
Hyundai Entourage 2007-08 $6,300
Kia Sedona 2006 and later $4,600

 

by Cheyenne Mueller |