What Are the Safest Cars For Your Teenager?

What Are the Safest Cars For Your Teenager?

According to the Florida Crash Facts Report, over 45,000 teen drivers were involved in Florida crashes in 2021. These crashes affected over 70,000 other drivers, passengers, and non-motorists. In short, over 115,000 people were affected by the choices made by teen drivers.

One of the choices that rests outside of the control of teenagers is the car they drive. Since teenagers are often reliant on relatives to help them buy their first car, an adult will usually have at least some input into the vehicle they choose. Steering your teen toward a safe vehicle could save their life and the lives of other road users.

Features To Look For in a Teenager’s Car

Features To Look For in a Teenager’s Car

Teenagers experience a lot of car accidents. They lack the experience to drive confidently and maneuver out of dangerous situations. They also get easily distracted by passengers and electronic devices in their cars, regardless of what Florida law allows or prohibits for their particular license or permit.

In 2021, Florida drivers between 15 and 19 years old were involved in:

  • 111 fatal crashes
  • 12,376 non-fatal injury crashes
  • 35,733 property damage-only crashes

They hit 40,503 other vehicles and 978 pedestrians and cyclists. The remaining 6,739 accidents were single-vehicle crashes.

The numbers for Marion County, home to Ocala, were equally grim. Drivers in Marion County between 15 and 19 years old caused 944 car accidents. Two teen drivers were killed, and 348 teen drivers were injured in these crashes.

Teen drivers did not cause all of these crashes. More importantly, the teen driver might not have been able to prevent them. But the features in their cars might have either made their collisions less severe or more survivable.

Some features to look for in your teenager’s car include:

Anti-Lock Brakes

Anti-lock brakes use sensors to detect when the wheels lock up. Locked wheels are dangerous because you have less control during a skid. To prevent the wheels from locking, the brake controller pumps the brakes rapidly. This helps you stop quicker and maintain control while you stop.

The U.S. government has required anti-lock braking systems (ABS) on all new cars since 2011. If you buy your teen a new car, it will have ABS. If you purchase a used car older than 2011, check to see if the vehicle has ABS before buying it.

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic stability control (ESC) uses sensors to detect when your vehicle’s speed does not match your wheel speed. This mismatch will indicate that you are sliding or skidding. The ESC system will reduce power to the skidding wheel to help you regain control of your vehicle.

ESC has also been required on all new cars since 2011. Newer cars will have ESC built in. You will need to check older cars to make sure it has ESC.


Airbags have been standard in new vehicles since 1998. Airbags have three parts. A sensor sits at the front of the vehicle and detects frontal collisions. It triggers an inflator that contains chemicals. The chemicals mix and produce a large volume of gas. The gas inflates the airbag.

All vehicles under 25 years old will have an airbag. But you should be aware of the airbag type. If the vehicle had a Takata airbag, it might have been recalled. Takata airbags had a tendency to explode unexpectedly and killed at least 26 people in the U.S. Before you buy a used car, find out whether it was recalled and whether the recall repair was completed.

Wide Wheelbase

Wide vehicles are more stable than narrow vehicles. Tall vehicles are less stable than short vehicles. You want to look for the right balance of height and width for the greatest stability. If you pick a car that is too tall or narrow, your teen could roll the vehicle during an accident.

Rear Camera

A rear camera gives the driver a better view while backing up. This optional feature can help your inexperienced teen avoid a crash where they back into another vehicle or pedestrian. But you should also teach your teen to look over their shoulder and out each side. If they become over-reliant on the backup camera, they might back into traffic approaching from the sides.

Hands-Free Phone

Unlike many states, Florida does not restrict cell phone use by teen drivers. The state does have a restriction on texting while driving, and it prohibits all cell phone use in school zones and work zones.

Hands-free phone systems help reduce your teen’s distractions. Your teen should still avoid using the phone while driving. But a built-in or aftermarket hands-free system reduces the risk of a distracted driving accident.

Safest Cars For Teenagers

You can find both new and used cars that provide a safe ride for your teenager. When shopping for a car for your teen, you will probably need to balance several factors, including cost, safety, and appearance. Some vehicles you should consider include:

Used Cars

Generally, you should look for a car newer than about 2013. This car will have most of the safety features you need. 

Some examples include:

  • Acura RDX
  • Ford C-Max Hybrid
  • Honda CR-V
  • Honda HR-V
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
  • Kia Niro
  • Mazda 3
  • Mazda 6
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mazda CX-3
  • Nissan Murano
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota Prius
  • Toyota Avalon
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Toyota Sienna
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Volkswagen Passat
  • Volvo XC60

You can find these cars for as little as $7,000.

New Cars

When looking at new cars, you should focus on models with proven reliability. 

Some examples include:

  • Honda HR-V
  • Honda CR-V
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Lexus UX
  • Lexus NX
  • Mazda 3
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mazda CX-50
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Subaru Forester
  • Subaru Ascent
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Toyota Highlander

These new vehicles start at about $25,000 and run up to $40,000.

How To Handle a Car Accident Involving Your Teen in Florida

Your teen can get into a crash regardless of the car they drive. If they do, they may have a claim against the at-fault driver if they sustained serious injuries or their losses exceed PIP policy limits. To prove liability, your personal injury lawyer must show that the other driver acted intentionally or negligently in running into your teen.

After proving liability, your teen can recover compensation for economic losses like medical costs, income losses, and other financial expenses. They can also recover compensation for non-economic losses that diminish their quality of life, such as pain, suffering, disability, or disfigurement.

A car accident can leave your teen with permanent health problems and long-term disabilities. Contact Allen Law Firm, P.A. for a free consultation to discuss your teen’s car accident injuries and the compensation you can pursue for them.