3 Tips for Getting Your Teen His First Car

User Rating: 0 (0 votes)

Man Giving Car Key

Your teen is getting his license and can hardly contain his excitement. You are probably having a hard time containing your anxiety. The things that teenagers get most excited about tend to fill parents with a sense of dread. You worry about his safety and with good reason—teenagers are four times more likely to get in a car accident and it is a leading cause of death among this age group. If he will be getting a vehicle, here are some helpful tips for getting that first car.

Safety First

Parents and their kids tend to have very different ideas about the ideal car. You are thinking about something safe and affordable, while your kid is more concerned with a car that is ‘’cool.’’ Barring a circumstance where your child is footing the entire bill for the car, your concerns for safety will rule and this is how it should be. Greater vehicle mass means better protection and mid-size sedans are the best bet. They are also less likely to roll over because of their lower center of gravity. Look for cars with smaller engines—more difficult to speed and better fuel economy to boot. The best cars will have six airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability controls. Look up data from government crash tests and focus on cars that have at least four of five stars. This information and much more is available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Set Clear Expectations

To avoid any problems or miscommunications down the line, set clear expectations early on regarding anything related to the car and driving. Discuss what will happen in the shopping phase of the vehicle. If you plan on having final say over the car to be purchased, while considering your child’s input, make this clear to minimize conflict down the line. Discuss your child’s role in the financial aspects of ownership. Will he be responsible for gas or insurance? What about repairs? If you finance a vehicle, will he be responsible for all of the payment or at least part of it?

Set safety goals and clearly outline the consequences if he fails to reach them. For example, you might set goals of going a year without a ticket or accident.

Driver Training

Not so much about the actual purchase of a car but surely an important consideration for any new driver on the road. No matter how safe the car you purchase, the best line of defense is skilled driving. Teens will have a lot to learn and experience is the best teacher. The more you can do to prep him for the road, the better off he will be. Look for courses in your area that focus on teaching accident avoidance skills to new drivers. Many states have graduated licensing to keep teens safer while they build up their driving experience. If your state does not participate in such programs, you might consider adhering to these same guidelines for your child. This might involve restricting driving after a certain time of night or not letting your teen drive without an adult in the car for a specified period of time.