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Selecting the Right Vehicle for your Teen

Most teens spend countless hours dreaming of getting their drivers license and their first car.  It can be a source of spirited debate in many households, because there is frequently a significant difference of opinion about what kind of vehicle a teen wants and what kind a parent will allow.  When you are faced with this challenging decision, here are a few things you should consider.

1.        Speed Kills:  Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year olds, and 31% of those accidents the primary cause was speeding.  Predictably, driving fast cars with turbochargers and high horsepower is even more dangerous.  Choosing a vehicle with a four-cylinder engine and average horsepower will not only reduce your insurance cost – it might also save your teenager’s life.

2.       Stay Down to Earth:  Many parents mistakenly assume that pick-up trucks and SUVs are the safest vehicles for their teenage drivers.  The reality is, however, that the high center-of-gravity in these vehicles makes them much less stable and more prone to roll-over than traditional mid-size sedans – especially for inexperienced drivers.  The fact is, pick-ups are twice as likely and SUVs are three times more likely to rollover than traditional passenger cars.

3.       The Newer the Better:  While many parents can’t afford to provide their teens with new or almost-new vehicles, letting your teenager drive a vehicle that is too old can be dangerous.  If at all possible, try to provide your teenager with a 1997 or later vehicle – the year airbags were required in all models.  Also, look for other safety features such as side airbags, anti-lock brakes and roll stability control.

4.       Crash-Test Scores:  When shopping for a new or used car it’s a good idea to look at vehicle crash-test scores, as they will tell you how well a vehicle can withstand a front or side impact.  While crash-test scores are approximate, they represent an excellent appraisal of the structural integrity of a particular model.  Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety site,, to view crash-test scores.

Provided By Mercury Insurance

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