Teens and safe summer driving

NEW YORK (CNN) – We’re almost halfway through summer vacation, but there’s still plenty of free time for teens before school is back in session. For many, that means more time behind the wheel.

A driver’s license and a first car are rites of passage for many teens, but when making that purchase, the cheapest vehicle isn’t always the safest.

From their own safety tests, plus crash test ratings from the national highway traffic safety administration, the insurance institute for highway safety compiled a list of used cars ranging from 4 to 20 thousand dollars with key features for teen drivers.

They should start with a midsize or larger vehicle. Make sure it has electronic stability control. This is a life-saving technology that helps drivers keep control of a vehicle when they’re coming around a curve, or they’re on a slippery road. Just some of the kinds of situations that teens have difficulty with.

Some vehicles on their list, starting at under ten thousand dollars: A large car like the Volvo S80, a midsize car like the Volkswagen Jetta, a small SUV like the Honda element, and a midsize SUV like the Volvo XC90.

Their full list of recommendations can be found at iihs.org and even the safest of vehicles isn’t a substitute for reinforcing rules of the road. Doctor Raymond Scalletar also a medical adviser to the distilled spirits council urges parents to talk bluntly about the dangers of underage drinking.

“There can be impairment and there can be impairment of some of the brain cells and that can affect judgment and if they’re young early drivers and can be seriously impaired and not realize it,” said Dr. Scalletar.

They also recommend parents keep tabs on alcohol in the home, and make sure there’s adult supervision.

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