A teenage driver and a private in the Illinois Army National Guard lost their lives in a single-car accident in Illinois. It happened when the vehicle left the road, spun out into a ditch and then struck a tree, according to the Woodridge Patch. The two later passed away at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee.
The type of vehicle your teen drives can mean the difference between life and death in the event of an accident, but how do parents select a vehicle that is both safe and affordable? Our Chicago car accident attorneys are parents, too! We understand there are a lot of questions that need answering before purchasing a vehicle. You may be even more confused when selecting a vehicle for your newly licensed teen. You may be wondering things like: Should I buy them a used or a new car? What type of car should I get them? Which ones are the most reliable?
"Having a car is not a birthright," says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, who raised four children. "Today's teens seem to think that they should have a car waiting for them in the driveway when they return home from the Motor Vehicle Department with their driver's license. If that's right for your family, fine. But don't be held hostage to peer pressure, and by that I mean from other families who are buying their teen a car."
We're going to help our children out no matter what, so here goes. First you will need to determine if you're going to get a new or a used vehicle? If you've got a budget, as most of us do, you're almost always better off getting a used car. A certified pre-owned car will be able to provide you with the advantages of a new-car like warranty. You might be able to get better financing rates too!
"A first time driver doesn't need a new car, but of course they want one," says Lori Mackey, president of Prosperity4Kids. "The depreciation, probability of fender benders and the price tag [means new] is not the most logical way to go."
New cars will have all of the latest features, but late-model used cars will still come with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, airbags and reasonable power and performance. You're going to want to select a car for them that has a responsive chassis, making sure it handles well, has quick steering and has a good brake system.
So once you've figured out whether you're going to go new or used, you've got to start thinking about what kind of car you're going to go for. At this point it is important for you to take their safety into consideration. You can check out safety ratings and other crash-test information from a number of organizations including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You're also urged to look at J.D. Power and Associates for reliability and other quality ratings.
"I see these young, inexperienced drivers in Mustangs, BMWs, and large SUVs. These automobiles are big, powerful and difficult to control for even experienced drivers. In the hands of a new driver, they can be deadly weapons," says LeeAnn Shattuck, co-owner and chief car chick with Women's Automotive Solutions.
Remember that you don't want to go too small. The smaller the car, the less likely it will be to protect your teen in the event of a front-end accident.
"Your teen is safest in a mid-sized sedan with a four cylinder engine, airbags and a good crash test rating," says Shattuck.
No matter what way you go about it, selecting a car for your teen is going to take a lot of time and a lot of research. This may be one of the most important decisions you'll have to make in your teen's life.
"Don't feel you have to buy the first car you see," says Jack Nerad, executive editorial director for Kelley Blue Book.