The Best Vehicles for New Drivers

Having a new driver in the home can be an exciting time – a milestone in a teen’s life, but also another driver to share the errands and responsibilities with. But it can be a stressful time too, knowing your teen doesn’t have the level of experience you do to recognize and/or respond to potentially dangerous situations. Lack of experience is not the only factor that can put teens at risk. Compared with other age groups, teens and young adults tend to engage in riskier and more impulsive behavior such as speeding, texting/emailing while driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

Luckily, modern vehicles come with numerous built-in safety features that can help keep your teen safe. We put together a list of some features you may want to look for when selecting a vehicle for a new driver – from advanced technology to more basic features that may just help to minimize driver stress.


  • Anti-lock brakes automatically modulate the brakes to maximize stopping power while allowing the driver to steer around problems.
  • Traction control promotes controlled acceleration through the anti-lock brakes slowing a spinning drive wheel.
  • Stability control uses the anti-lock brakes to apply braking to the appropriate wheel or wheels to help correct a slide.
  • Forward-collision warning with front automatic emergency braking is a system employing sensors to monitor what’s in front of your car, along with your car’s speed. If it thinks a crash might be imminent, it sounds a warning. If you don’t respond, the system can automatically apply the brakes.
  • Blind-spot monitoring uses sensors, and sometimes cameras, to detect vehicles in adjacent lanes that may not appear in your side mirrors. A visual warning on the side mirrors, A-pillar, or elsewhere will then illuminate.

Also worth having:

  • Outboard mirrors with turn-signal indicators
  • Power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel
  • Automatic climate control
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Automatic high beams
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Hill-start assist
  • Infotainment system with voice recognition
  • Airbags, at least six
  • Auto on-off headlights

In addition, certain carmakers now offer a programmable driving monitor to help keep track of and set limits for your teen driver such as maximum speed and music volume, like Chevy’s General Motors’ Teen Driver Technology, for example. Kelly Blue Book put together a helpful list of cars they found to be the best and safest for new drivers: “The Best Cars and SUVs for Teens”

While we can’t always be there to watch over a young driver, you can sleep better at night knowing they behind the wheel of a SAFE vehicle.

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