And I'm not alone. According to the Liberty Mutual Insurance New Beginnings Report, safety is a factor for two-thirds of parents looking to buy a car for their teen driver and almost half of all parents have spent time researching and learning about safety features in cars.
During my visit to the New York International Auto Show recently, I got to check out some of these new car safety trends and wanted to highlight some features parents should be aware of when choosing a vehicle for their teen.
What's out there?
- Seatbelt alerts. Many newer car models have alert systems set up to encourage passengers and drivers to be safer. Some models have seatbelt alerts that sound off a ding that starts slow and gets faster the longer the driver or passenger goes without putting on their seatbelt. Other models completely mute the radio system in the car until the drivers and passengers buckle up.
- Front and side collision warning systems. These safety alerts can be found in newer models and make the driver aware of obstacles surrounding their vehicle or near their blind spots. These warnings can give the driver ample time to control their distance and help to avoid collision.
- All-wheel drive. Whether standard or optional, all-wheel drive has become a common safety feature. In many parts of the country, winters can be brutal, and having traction control really helps navigate those icy roads and snow banks.
- Hands-free capabilities. Any distraction can be dangerous, particularly to teen drivers, but having hands-free capabilities in a vehicle can be helpful in emergency situations. With this option, you can command your vehicle to make calls and answer them without needing to look at or pick up the phone.
But research from the Highway Loss Data Institute has shown that hands-free . That's why I love the "Do Not Disturb" feature in cars. When activated, this option blocks phones paired with the car from receiving text messages. It also sends calls to voicemail, though the ability to make outgoing calls via speaker remains available.
- Parking assistance. Lastly, any driver can benefit from park assist technology, especially when trying to park in tight spots. I would like my teen to learn to park properly without assistance, but it's a nice option to have while he is still working on his skills. This feature used to be exclusive to luxury vehicles, but more and more mainstream cars are offering it as a more affordable add-on.
To learn more about preparing your teen to be a safe driver, visit Liberty Mutual's Teen Driving guide.