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Helping Your Teen Choose Their First Car

 When your teen starts driving, it's natural to feel a tiny bit worried, especially since it's such a huge milestone and a reminder that they're growing up right before your eyes. However, it's important to keep a calm head and focus on preparing and helping them as much as possible. Two of the best ways to do this are by helping them pick a safe car and by giving them essential pointers to ensure that they can stay safe while on the road.

Helping Your Teen Choose The Right Car

When helping your child choose their first car, you'll want to consider a couple of things before heading to your local car dealership. Firstly, you'll want to decide whether or not you are interested in a new or used car. While used cars can offer a greater variety, lower cost, and lower insurance rates, new cars can have the benefit of lower maintenance costs, more advanced safety features, and warranties.

If your teen isn't sure about the type of car they want, you should consider renting vehicles or going to various dealerships in your neighborhood to give your teen the opportunity to drive multiple vehicles to find the type that they are most comfortable with. The American Rental Association reports that renting equipment, particularly in the construction industry, is at an all-time high. In fact, 93% of those surveyed said that they had rented equipment in 2019.

In addition to this, you'll want to consider both budget and safety features to ensure that your teen is getting the best deal possible, without sacrificing potentially life-saving safety features. Safety features like lane assist, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, pedestrian detection, and forward-collision warning, can be essential for the health and safety of your teen behind the wheel.

Regardless of the type of car that your teen is looking at, it's important to always have a test drive and an inspection done before purchasing or leasing the vehicle to ensure that it handles well and doesn't have any problems. If you're going to be buying a used car, insisting on seeing the car's history can also be essential to ensure that you're not getting a vehicle that was previously in an accident.

Advice That Your Teen Needs to Know

Whether they are driving the family car or heading off in their new car, it's important that you teach them the best ways to stay safe behind the wheel. Optimally, before they receive their license, you should have them drive with you in various weather conditions including rain and snow to make sure that they know how to handle their vehicle safely in inclement conditions. Sliding on ice and snow or hydroplaning can be serious issues and if your teen doesn't know to go slow and resist jerking the wheel, then they could end up in a dangerous situation.

Windy conditions can also be dangerous when on the road, particularly when sharing the road with large semi-trucks. According to Knott Laboratory, a 35-mph crosswind can cause almost 3,500 pounds of force against the side of a trailer. Because of this, you should emphasize the importance of giving large trucks a wide berth, and always stay aware when passing them.

Additionally, you should talk to your kids about the dangers of driving while under the influence. While not all teens will find themselves in this situation, you should always keep in mind that teens don't have the same level of decision-making that adults do, due to their still-developing frontal lobes. Because of this, you should keep an open mind to the fact that your teen may make mistakes and experiment with alcohol. Emphasis to them that even a first DUI offense can have serious ramifications including license suspension, community service, fines, mandatory attendance of an alcohol program, overnight incarceration, and the installation of a car ignition locking device. Not to mention it can endanger their lives and the lives of everyone else on the road around them.

Be sure to keep an open line of dialogue between you and your teen so that they know that they can always call you should they need a ride without needing to worry about your reaction. Although teens shouldn't drink, you shouldn't judge them too harshly, and remember that keeping them safe is priority number one.

Keeping Teens Safe Behind the Wheel

Your child's teenage years can be a stressful and worrisome time. While they develop into themselves, it's hard not to let yourself feel worried about how fast they seem to be growing up. Despite this, the best thing you can do is guide them to the best of your ability to help arm them with the knowledge and tools they need to stay safe and make good decisions.

When looking for the best car, look for models that will help safeguard their health and wellbeing. Couple this with ensuring that they know how to handle themselves behind the wheel, and you can rest easy knowing that your teen is in the best position possible to be a smart and safe driver.


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