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The Safest Car Options for New Drivers

Aug 13, 2018


  • There are over 780,000 teenagers with drivers’ licenses in Florida.
  • In 2016, there were 16,124 teens between the ages of 15 and 17 involved in car accidents.
  • Of those teens, 27 experienced fatal injuries.


When you purchase a new or new-to-you vehicle, chances are you do at least a bit of research. Choosing a vehicle for a new teenage driver often requires more than just a little bit of research. Teens are inexperienced, and that lack of experience behind the wheel calls for a vehicle with top safety ratings, among other things.

If you have found yourself in the position of choosing a vehicle for a new driver, or you are buying a new vehicle for your family with your teen driver in mind, here are some things to look for.

The Safest Car Options for New Drivers infographic

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1. Lower Horsepower

Stay away from vehicles with high horsepower. Your teen won’t know what to do with all of that power. A vehicle that packs a lot of punch is not only more difficult to control for an inexperienced driver, but it can make the temptation to drive recklessly irresistible.

Imagine how much fun you would have had in such a vehicle when you were learning how to drive. Now imagine your child feeling the same. Don’t put them in the position to have to fight temptation when there are so many vehicles available that are a safer option.

2. Larger and Heavier

There’s nothing inherently wrong with small cars, but if you are looking at something that is going to keep your child safe in a car accident in Pensacola, go for big and heavy. A small SUV or midsize car is as light as you should go when it comes to a vehicle for your teenager.

As Pensacola car accident lawyers, we have seen the devastating aftermath of collisions involving small cars. It is quite simply not the same in the majority of accidents involving larger vehicles.

3. Electronic Stability Control

Look for a vehicle that has electronic stability control, or ESC. The feature is one that helps drivers maintain controls on slippery roads and around curves. Studies have shown that the enhanced safety benefits of this system is similar to that of wearing a seatbelt.

Most newer vehicles are equipped with the feature, but some may only include it in mid- and higher package options.

4. Recalls from the NHTSA

Before you settle on any vehicle, take a look to see if it’s part of a recall from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. You can run the Vehicle Identification Number or ask for a report from the dealer.

If there are any recalls, insist that they be fixed before you purchase the vehicle. Don’t assume that you will be advised of one after you purchase the vehicle. Make it a habit to check the NHTSA site about once a month.

Making Sure Your Teenager Drives Safely

No matter the type of vehicle you choose for your teenager, all the safety features in the world won’t protect them if they aren’t responsible drivers. Before you hand your child the keys, make sure they understand the rules of the road and your rules as well.

You should be able to trust that your child will:

1. Pay Attention

The first lesson to provide your teen is that they have one task behind the wheel: Paying attention. There is nothing else they should be doing in the driver’s seat other than operating the vehicle safely.

You can find pages of information about the dangers of distracted driving to share with your teenager.

2. Put Down the Phone

Under no circumstances outside of an immediate emergency should your child be using their cell phone while driving. Let’s face it though: adults do it, too.

Cell phones are tempting, which is why developers have released apps that allow you to control what your child can do on their phone while driving.

3. Obey the Speed Limit

Speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents and something that many teens do without even thinking about it. Drive with your child frequently and make sure they don’t have a lead foot.

Stick to the speed limit while you are behind the wheel to lead by example. Let your child know that you would rather they were a few minutes late than speeding to get home on time.

Our Pensacola Car Accident Lawyers are Here to Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you need an experienced Pensacola car accident attorney. Reach out to Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon today for the representation you deserve. We will be there with you until you are awarded the compensation you deserve.