Many parents view the license of their teen driver with some trepidation, not only because of concerns for their teen’s safety but due to practical considerations such as the high cost of auto insurance for teen drivers. Luckily, one of the ways you can reduce the cost of your teen’s insurance will also keep your teen safer – selecting a vehicle equipped with certain safety features.
Your insurance company may offer discounts for the following safety features. If not, it pays to shop around. Discounts for vehicle safety features vary widely among insurance companies.
Air Bags: Passenger and driver-side dual airbags are now required in all vehicles sold in the United States. Air bags must be used with safety belts for maximum effectiveness.
Head Injury Protection: This feature, which lessons the blow if your head hits the interior roof of your vehicle, has become standard in recent years. If you select an older vehicle for your teen, it may not have this safety feature.
Advanced Headrests: These systems allow the back of the seat and headrest to move down and back if the vehicle is hit from the rear, reducing the forward motion and thus decreasing the severity of head and neck injuries.
Automatic Daytime Running Lights: This feature makes it impossible for your teen to drive without headlights, making your teen’s vehicle more visible when driving, even during daylight.
Anti-lock Brake System: This feature eliminates the need to “pump the brakes” when you have to stop quickly, preventing the wheels from locking up and the vehicle from skidding. ABS pumps the brakes for the driver; the driver keeps constant pressure on the brake pedal and concentrates on steering. This allows the driver to regain control in bad weather conditions or quickly avoid a crash.
Traction Control: While ABS helps drivers maintain control while braking, traction control helps them do so while accelerating. This feature stops the spinning of a wheel due to wet roads, loose gravel, or fast acceleration by braking it, reducing the fuel or cutting spark plug ignitions, depending on the type of system, which improves traction.
Electronic Stability System: This feature coordinates the ABS, Traction Control, and the “yaw” of your vehicle (how much the vehicle rocks side to side). The system reduces tire spinning, skidding, and cornering without traction, keeping the vehicle’s tires in maximum contact with the road.
If your budget allows, check out the more advanced crash-avoidance technologies found on newer modes, such as emergency brake assist, lane departure warnings, and blind spot warnings.