Having a teenage driver can be a nerve-wracking experience. Teens often want to explore their freedom and the world, but they are also at greater risk of accidents, especially serious ones. Their inexperience makes them less responsive to dangerous situations than older drivers, making it even more important that they are in a safe vehicle. The Insurance Institute for Road Safety (IIHS) tests vehicles and conducts research into driving behavior and safety. It publishes a list of the safest vehicles for teens every year. The most recent list is full of good new and used vehicles for teens, but none of them are pickup trucks.
Are trucks good for teens?
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The IIHS does not have a single pickup truck on its list of the safest vehicles for teens. It also does not include mini or small cars, due to their small stature and increased risk of serious injury. So what’s stopping trucks from being a good choice for teens? Part of that has to do with their safety scores.
The IIHS releases three lists of vehicles: Best Used, Good Used, and New. The best used vehicle list includes vehicles with good ratings in the IIHS tests with moderate overlap at the front, original side and roof strength and headrest. They must also have a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap test on the driver’s side.
The Safest Vehicles also include ratings from the NHTSA and Consumer Reports
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The list also includes vehicles that have been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and those vehicles must have “4 or 5 stars overall or 4 or 5 stars in the front and side tests under the old rating scheme.” In addition, vehicles must have electronic stability control and a minimum curb weight of 2,750 pounds.
Consumer Reports also weighs in on the safest vehicles for teens, and none of them are pickup trucks. All recommended vehicles must have a 3 or higher for emergency handling. They should also be able to brake from 60 mph in 145 or less on dry surfaces. In addition, their reliability ratings should be better than average. Finally, any vehicle with a “higher than average claim rate under medical or personal injury coverage” is not on the list.
The most recommended vehicles are medium sized SUVs and minivans
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There are no pickup trucks or large SUVs on the list of the safest vehicles for teens. Instead, mid-sized SUVs and minivans are the largest vehicles deemed safe enough for these inexperienced drivers. Some of the best used mid-size SUVs include the 2017 and newer Mazda CX-9, 2017-2019 Hyundai Santa Fes, and 2017 and 2019 GMC Terrains. Likewise, 2017 and 2019 Chevy Equinoxs are on the list, as are luxury SUVs such as the 2015, 2016 and 2018 and newer Lexus NX, as well as the 2016-2019 Audi Q5. There is also a list of new vehicles if you want something brand new.
If you’re looking for the safest vehicle for your teen, skip the pickup trucks. Teenagers are more inexperienced and have an increased risk of a serious or fatal accident. By using the IIHS list of the safest vehicles for teens, you can give your kids the best chance of a safe driving experience as they learn to deal with the unexpected on the road.
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