If there is one aspect of being a parent that ignites fear and anxiety, it is the day their teen turns 16 and is ready to start the process of getting their driver’s license. Today, there are many more concerns when it comes to teenagers driving than there were even a few years ago. With today’s teens almost physically attached to their MP3 players and smartphones, there are more distractions to tempt teens to do everything besides keep their eyes on the road while driving. With the rising costs of auto insurance, adding a teenage driver to your policy can raise your rates significantly, even if they never file a claim or receive any violations. The vehicle you choose for your teen can make a big difference in not only your child’s safety, but the expense of another vehicle and driver as well. Finding the right vehicle for your teen driver can seem like a challenge, but the following tips can help make your choice easier.
Size and Features Make a Difference
It takes time to realize how big or small the vehicle you are driving is, no matter how old you are. Even people that have been driving for ten years or more can find it a challenge when faced with driving a vehicle that is much larger or smaller than the vehicle they are used to driving. If you drive a compact or mid-sized car and suddenly face driving a large truck or van, it can make you feel like a new driver all over again. The same applies to those that drive larger vehicles and may have to borrow or rent a small vehicle. Imagine a teenager getting behind the wheel for the first time and trying to determine the size of what they are driving. Obviously, a parent is not going to buy their child a box truck to drive, but to your teen, it might feel like that is what they are trying to drive, no matter how small the vehicle is. The key is choosing a vehicle that provides your teen a level of comfort, good visibility and above all, safety. While you may want to pass down the 80s land yacht that has been in your family that “you drove when you were 16”, you may want to give up waxing nostalgic for the safety of your teen and to maintain the comfortable width of your wallet.
With the dependence on distracting electronic devices, choosing a vehicle with Bluetooth capability or other systems that integrate a smartphone or MP3 player, you can take away one of the number one causes of fatalities for teenage drivers, distracted driving. While most adults have realized the dangers in texting and driving or having too many passengers, the common feeling of invincibility among teens can make them think they are capable of doing other things while driving that can cause an accident for even the most experienced drivers. Smaller vehicles can provide better visibility, and unlike the land yacht you learned to drive in, less space and seating for the ten friends they could probably fit in that vehicle, like some of us did back in the day. While an older vehicle that does not have a loan on it might mean a lower insurance rates, no matter how much you save, it will never make up for losing your child in a preventable auto accident.
High Tech means More Savings
With most vehicle owners concerned with gas mileage because of chronically high gas prices, automakers see the need for subcompact and compact vehicles on the rise. In turn, options that a few years ago were expensive “creature comforts” have now become standard options. For those that remember the early days of subcompacts, even having an automatic transmission was an additional option and features like ABS brakes and driver assist technology were unheard of. Today, even the least expensive subcompact that Toyota offers, the Yaris, is equipped with Toyota’s Star Safety System™ that includes vehicle stability control, ABS, brake-force distribution and other systems that make driving safer and help to reduce driver error. In addition, it is also includes Bluetooth and MP3 integration as standard features to allow your teen’s smartphone or MP3 player to stay safely out of their hands while driving. Of course, there should still be rules involving the use of electronic devices while driving, having the ability to integrate them into a safer driving plan can keep both you and your teen happy. Toyota’s Teen Driver website provides information and even a driving agreement that can help parents and teens see eye to eye when it comes to driving rules ad privileges.
While the Yaris is just one example of Toyota’s smaller, easy on the wallet vehicles, if your teenneeds more legroom, the Matrix and even the Corolla are good choices for your teen. While the Corolla is on the higher end of the compacts, even adding the option of the Entune navigation and entertainment system to the sporty S trim, you can still expect the price to be in the $20,000 range. Toyota Care on all new vehicles for the first two years or 25,000 miles also takes the worry out of your teen being stranded with its roadside assistance and helps keep the vehicle in the best running condition with the complimentary maintenance. This also means a savings for you when it comes to oil changes during the period the vehicle qualifies for the Toyota Care program.
Newer Vehicle, Decreased Expense
Newer vehicles can also provide savings in other areas, such as fuel cost and insurance. The new and newer subcompact and compact vehicles have some of the best fuel economy ratings ever seen. Although your teen may not drive as much as you do, any amount you can save on fuel expense can benefit everyone. Newer safer vehicles are also less expensive to insure. While there will never be such a thing as inexpensive insurance for high-risk drivers, any amount you can save helps. With the new regulations in most states that require much more driver education before teens are issued a license, adding the benefits of a vehicle with driver safety assist technology, the insurance bill may not be as much of a stress as it could potentially be.
Handing over the car keys to your new teen driver does not have to be an overly stressful thing. By doing a little homework, you cannot only find a car that your teen will be safe in, but one that will keep your extra expenses to a minimum. Toyota offers a variety of sporty subcompact and compact cars that will help ease your mind and expenses, while still letting your teen feel like they have a “cool” car. Dick Poe Toyota has a great selection of new teen-friendly vehicles, including the Yaris, Matrix and Corolla. If a used Toyota is more appropriate for your budget, you can also find a large selection of those as well. You can browse online and if you need more information on a particular vehicle, you can contact one of our great sales staff to help you choose the right vehicle to keep you and your teen happy. Toyota even offers great information for you and your teen driver with their Toyota Driving Expectations program. Toyota offers information and options to help you keep your teen driver safe and your stress level low!