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Don’t let your teen drive your car until you’ve read this

By Mason White 10:52 AM September 3, 2014
Teen driving car illustration 

By: Hydar Tomar
Teenagers want to drive.

If they have their driver’s license, they want to take your car.

A car of his own may be the way to go. When your teenager is late coming home—you can’t sleep, and you have a million thoughts going through your head. Was my child in an accident? Was my child speeding? Has the car broken down?

If you decide to get your teenager a car, should you go older and less expensive, or should you shell out the money for a new car? There are safety options in new cars that can give you peace of mind when the kid drives away to pick up a date.

Tire Pressure Monitoring

If your teen comes home late and claims it was because of a flat tire, and the car is equipped with this feature— then you will know that it wasn’t a flat tire that kept the child out so late.

Installed in the wheels, sensors will alert the driver if tire pressure is too low. The instrument panel will show the alert, an audible alert will sound or both will alert the driver simultaneously.

This is a great feature, especially for a teenager that is just beginning to drive. Instead of taking time out of the day to find the tire gauge and stop at the corner gas station to fill the tires—or worse, not finding the tire gauge and eyeing the tires to check “when a tire is low,” all the teen has to do is (hopefully) not ignore the tire pressure alerts to avoid a disaster.

Blind Spot Detection

It’s hard enough for adults to catch the car lingering in the blind spot, but teenagers have a worse time with blind spots. This feature helps with that.

Blind spot detection works with sensors and cameras that will alert the driver when there is a vehicle that is not visible. Whether you are driving or parking, the detection system will alert the driver by flashing a symbol on the side view mirror, vibrate the steering wheel or issue an audible alert. Many of the systems can tell if it’s a large or small object—car or pedestrian. Keep in mind that blind spot is for short range only.

Lane Departure Warning

Blind spot detection has short range capabilities, which means that it can sense only objects around the car. This safety option has sensors that can measure a greater distance from the vehicle.

This feature warns drivers of potential problems when changing lanes by judging another car’s speed and distance. If the car is drifting out of the lane, the driver is alerted by the steering wheel, seat vibration or an alarm. Future improvements on this feature include the car’s ability to monitor body posture and measure eye activity and head position. In severe cases, the feature’s system may slow the car down and stabilize the vehicle.

Collision Avoidance System & Autonomous Braking

Using forward-looking radar sensors, the collision system gives warnings (audio and visual) to alert the driver that the car is getting too close to the one in front of it. If the warning is ignored or not responded to, autonomous braking provides automatic braking to lessen the impact upon collision. These systems work best and more effectively together. Most new cars come equipped with crash avoidance systems, including the Volvo S60, Acura MDX and Mercedes E-Class.

Reverse Backup Sensors

This safety feature alerts you if you’re backing up and about to hit something. It can detect cars, animals and children, and begins to beep when the driver is getting close to an object. As you get closer, the beeps become more frequent.

Modern cars come equipped with more and more safety features. Until now, some of these safety features have only been in luxury cars—now they are becoming standard. Invest in the best for your teen and use an online vehicle search tool to navigate MSRP, dealer invoice price and browse new vehicles.

If you decide to get your teenager a new model car, you may want to spend the extra money to ensure not only better safety, but a better night’s sleep for yourself.