It’s something of a tradition to pass down your own older car to your teen when they finally get their license, and it can seem to make better financial sense to do that instead of buying a new model. However, scrapping your older car and buying new is the best option, as recent research shows that teens who drive older vehicles are more likely to be involved in accidents and more likely to be injured in the process.
Why? Because older models lack the vast array of safety features offered by modern vehicles.
When we think about safety advances, we tend to think of actual technology. However, one of a vehicle’s most important safety features is its body. Modern vehicles make use of extensive crash-testing to simulate how impact force is distributed. This allows manufacturers to put together sophisticated bodies that respond intelligently in the event of a collision. Unlike older models, new vehicles crumple in a specific way to direct impact energy away from the passenger compartment.
Active Safety Features
Active safety features are those that prevent an accident from happening in the first place. They generally work to keep the vehicle under control. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a good example; it detects when the vehicle starts to skid and then applies the brakes to help maintain control. ESC is found in all new mass-produced models, but it isn’t a feature you’ll find in all older models. That’s just one example – newer models take advantage of a vast range of such features to keep drivers safe.
Passive Safety Features
Passive safety features are those that jump into action in the event of a collision. Airbags are good examples of passive safety features – you hope you’ll never have to use them, but they can be vitally important in the event of a collision if serious injury is to be avoided. Older cars usually carry basic airbag systems, but they’ll lack the more sophisticated deployment systems that make newer models safer. More advanced passive safety features, such as active head restraints used to prevent whiplash, will usually be missing entirely.