Most parents are feeling the financial crunch these days, so it makes sense to buy your child a used car rather than get one fresh off the assembly line. While used cars may be a better bargain, they can be notoriously unsafe in the wrong hands—especially if those hands are holding a cell phone as they zip down Route 50 on their way to Johnson County Community College.

How to Find the Safest Used Car for Your Teenage Son or Daughter

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 83 percent of parents who purchase vehicles for their teenagers buy used cars. Even more parents will give their son or daughter one of the cars that’s been in the family for some time, creating an overwhelming number of teens behind the wheels of used cars in Missouri.

In order to keep your teen safe on the road, keep these five guidelines in mind when choosing his or her vehicle:

  • Slow and steady. Younger drivers tend to speed, and a car with high horsepower may encourage them to “see what the engine can do.”
  • Bigger is better. Small cars may get better gas mileage, but heavier vehicles provide better protection in a crash.
  • Get ESC. Check to see if the vehicle has electronic stability control (ESC). This feature provides extra grip on slippery roads and helps the driver keep control on sharp curves, making it less likely that your teen will tip over or spin out of control.
  • Check tipping risks. Certain large vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks, are extremely top heavy. This increases the risk of rollover crashes, making it more likely that your child will suffer fatal consequences or a traumatic brain injury in an accident.
  • Hit the books. Safety ratings for all vehicles can be found online, so always sleep on your decision in order to do a little research at home before buying. Any vehicle you consider should have good front and side crash test ratings, and at least four stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Are other parents looking to buy their children SUVs for college? Be sure to share this information on Facebook before they make a decision they’ll regret!

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.