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IIHS Recommends Larger Vehicle Models for Teen Drivers

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When it comes to your teenager's first car, the IIHS says to consider a larger vehicle but avoid a high-horsepower model

When it comes to vehicles for your brand-new driver, the bigger it is, the better it is

Choosing the right first car for a teenage driver is no easy task. As teen drivers are just figuring out the basics of operating a motor vehicle, providing them with a car that will keep them safe is a must.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, parents would do well choosing a larger vehicle for their teenager.


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Larger, heavier cars are ultimately safer in the occurrence of most crashes. During a series of crash tests, the IIHS found that larger vehicles like crossovers, SUVs, and full-size passenger cars did a better job at preventing injuries than compact sedans.

Furthermore, the IIHS claims that there are a handful of essential safety features that every teen driver’s vehicle should come equipped with. This list includes electronic stability control, which has been required on all new vehicles since 2012.

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However, the IIHS experts warn parents about providing teen drivers with a high-horsepower vehicle. In short, teen drivers may not be experienced enough to handle that level of performance on the road.

“Teen drivers are at greater risk, due to immaturity and inexperience behind the wheel,” explains¬†Jessica Cicchino, vice president for research at the IIHS.


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Teenage drivers don’t quite have an understanding or grasp of their limits right after they receive their driver’s license. While teenagers may be tempted to operate a vehicle with a ton of horsepower, having access to that much power under the hood could potentially make a driving mistake that much more dangerous for both them and the drivers around them.

The IIHS states that these criteria apply for both new and used vehicles. You can view an extensive list of the models that the IIHS recommends for teen drivers here.

Source: IIHS