If you’re a parent with a teen driver in the house, you have every reason to worry. You don’t need to hear the statistics to know that teen drivers from ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be involved in accidents that result in severe injury or death.
You can reduce the chances that your teen driver will be involved in a serious accident by buying a car with or adding safety features to a used car that are designed to help them stay safe and become better drivers. Here are some of the best.
- Electronic stability control (ESC). ESC works through a network of speed sensors placed on the steering wheel and wheels. ESC is particularly useful on wet pavements when controlling the car is more difficult. When the sensors notice an imbalance in the way the steering wheel is pointed and the actual direction of the car, the system automatically brakes the appropriate wheels to help the driver maintain control.
- Crash avoidance systems. Available systems differ slightly in capability, but the basic idea is to alert the driver when they are about to hit another vehicle or object. Available options include front crash prevention, blind spot detection, and lane departure alerts.
- Side airbags. Airbags save countless lives, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that side airbags reduce deaths in driver-side impact accidents by an additional 37 percent when used in conjunction with front airbags. If you’re searching for a used car with top safety features, add side airbags to your list of must-haves.
- Anti-lock brake system (ABS). Panic braking is common among young, inexperienced drivers. An ABS prevents brakes from locking up when the brake is used.
- Backup and blind spot cameras. Backing into tight spaces is a skill that many adults struggle with, but it’s even more difficult for the inexperienced driver. Backup cameras are required on new vehicles, but can also be added to older cars. Multiple cameras give young drivers an easy way to see multiple angles around the vehicle and avoid accidents.
- Monitoring systems. Along with advanced safety features installed directly on to the car comes advanced technology to help parents monitor their teen’s driving behavior. Reports include maximum speed driven, mileage covered and a record of the number of times safety features were used.
Advanced monitoring systems have the ability to alert parents when a teen driver brakes hard, accelerates rapidly or has an accident. Other useful applications automatically silence smartphone notifications to keep teens from driving distractions.
- Supplemental driver training. Nothing beats experience when it comes to safe driving. Experience is exactly what teen drivers don’t have. One of the most exciting and innovative driver training aids is the online virtual reality (VR) simulator. The simulators are fun, which makes it more appealing to teens, but they also teach driving basics, such as parking, braking and the rules of the road. VR programs provide a perfect introduction to driving before a teen has a license and gives teens who are already licensed a way to practice and perfect skills safely off the road.