When teenagers start driving cars, and dates start arriving, parents have every right to be concerned about their kid’s new-found freedom on the road. This is especially true if your daughter has a new friend that wants to take her out for a spin, or her current boyfriend pulls up in a new ride. Moms, dads, grandparents, and guardians all over the world get nervous when their kids are on the road, but what are some of the biggest red flags?
Cars that raise eyebrows
Sometimes you’ve just got to wonder at people’s choices. If your daughter’s boyfriend drives up in U.S. News and World Report’s Weirdest Car of All Time winner, you might want to ask a few extra questions. The 1996 Suzuki X90 combined styles from all genres – part coupe, part mini-SUV, part convertible, and with a T-top to boot. Since they were once used as Red Bull promotional vehicles, bonus points to the boyfriend if he pulls up with a giant silver and blue can strapped to the back.
Next up is the Pontiac Aztek. This utility vehicle is not only one of the ugliest things on the road, but you might also want to question someone’s choices when they’re driving a car best known as Heisenberg’s wheels. You don’t want your daughter dating anyone with any fantasies of Breaking Bad someday.
And should the classic VW bus raise any flags? Many owners of these fun-mobiles are the sweetest people alive, but you’re going to want to make sure the only fumes around are in the gas tank.
Naturally, parents are going to be concerned if your daughter’s boyfriend pulls up in a powerful muscle car like a new Dodge Charger, a Ford Mustang, or a Chevy Camaro, but the truth is, you might be surprised at how safe these cars really are in the modern world.
Safety concerns are the biggest red flags
In all seriousness, when your daughter, son, or anyone you care about is on the road, safety is your No. 1 concern. Make sure your precious cargo is well taken of with a safe driver that is in a safe vehicle.
Red flags that should prevent you from letting your kids be a passenger include bald tires, burnt-out headlights or taillights, an uninspected vehicle, or a vehicle with a damaged windshield. Of course, all drivers should have taken the proper safety and driving courses, be legally licensed, and entirely sober and unimpaired.
Which vehicles are safest for teens
There are some cars and trucks that have great reputations as safe cars for teen drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the safest vehicles for teens don’t have a lot of horsepower, are heavier, bigger, have a high safety rating, and have electronic stability control. Some of the top vehicles under $20,000 that they recommend in different categories are:
- Midsize car – 2013 or newer Volkswagen Passat
- Large car – 2007 or newer Volvo S80
- Small SUV – 2014 or newer Mazda CX-5
- Midsize SUV – 2014 or newer Chevy Equinox
- Minivan – 2014 or newer Honda Odyssey
- Small pickup – 2016 or newer Toyota Tacoma Access Cab
- Large pickup – 2014 or newer Toyota Tundra Double Cab
When a new guy arrives at the house trying to impress, be sure to take a look at his wheels before they head out. Not only will what he drives tell you a lot about the person, but you’ll also want to reassure yourself that your dearest daughter will be perfectly safe while she’s out having fun.