Among the most avid readers of auto-safety reports may be parents with young drivers in the family. It’s been traditional to consider a large older car the best for a teenage driver, but Iowa Department of Transportation Driver Safety Specialist Scott Falb says you shouldn’t settle for just putting a lot of sheet-metal between the driver and the rest of the traffic. The 1980s “boats” are bad for a number of reasons, he says — thost big cars are too big for an inexperienced driver, and they lack today’s safety features like airbags. Not so long ago, Falb says he was looking for a car for his own daughter’s use. He looked for a car that got good crash ratings from the Auto Safety Institute and NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency. After checking for the best front, side and rear crash-ratings, he also looked for a car of a size she could easily handle. If you’re looking for a car for a teenage driver today, he’d recommend one that has not only front driver and passenger airbags but side airbags and side-crash “curtains.” Look also at side-crash data from the Insurance Institute making sure you can get the safest vehicle possible, in a compact or slightly larger size range that a young driver can maneuver.
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