Having a teen driver in the household can be nerve wracking – after all, vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States. Lots of practice time and plenty of ground rules are essential risk management components, and the type of vehicle your teen drives has a direct impact on their safety while behind the wheel. When shopping at used car sales for your teen, it is a good idea to make sure that it's free of these issues:
After an airbag has been initially deployed, it no longer has the ability to protect the driver or passengers from accidents. And if the airbags have been previously deployed, it's a big sign that there has been some body damage to the vehicle that's been repaired or covered up. Repairs and replacements of the airbag system does not guarantee that they'll work again.
Ideally, your teen's vehicle should have airbags in it that have never been deployed to ensure optimal performance in case they are needed at some point in the future. In addition to checking the airbag indicator light, inspect the steering wheel cover and dash for signs that they have been replaced, which would signal that the airbags have been deployed or repaired.
A Salvage Title
Vehicles with salvage titles have been in serious accidents that causes structural damage to the vehicle. This damage may have been repaired, but that doesn't mean that the functionality and safety of the vehicle is intact. Most vehicles with salvage titles can't be financed, and you'd be hard pressed to find an insurance company who would be willing to issue insurance policies for them. And the truth is that you never know how safe these vehicles are once they're on the road again. It's best to avoid vehicles that come with salvage titles altogether.
An Upgraded Sound System
Loud music is identified as a hazard for all drivers, especially those who are new to it like your teen. In fact, music played above 90 decibels may reduce driver reaction times by up to 20 percent. The last thing your teenager needs is a loud stereo system installed in their vehicle that encourages them to keep the volume at high levels. Systems with multi-disc CD systems and plug-ins for iPods just add to the distraction.
Consider sticking with a vehicle that has a basic radio system that won't intrigue your teen into paying lots of attention to it. Even with a basic radio system in place, you may want to install a volume control program that will limit the decibel level of the volume while your teen drives.
Lots of Extra Seats
The risk of an accident is increases with each and every additional passenger your teen drives around with, so it's smart to limit the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle at any given time. It's important to address passenger limits within the rules set in place for your teen driver, but you won't be there to enforce the rules all of the time. An effective way to limit passengers in the car is to avoid vehicles that come with lots of extra seats and storage space.
A small sedan without a hatchback limits available space for comfortable riding, which will automatically limit the number of people your teen drives around with. If you find yourself limited to an option like a minivan, you can simply take extra seats out to make passenger riding inconvenient if not impossible.
It's important to have a potential vehicle inspected by a professional that you trust before making any purchase commitments. Your service provider should be able to verify that the vehicle is free of the issues outlined here, and ensure that the basic mechanics of the car are in sound condition.