Let’s talk about the worst drivers in America.
No, this isn’t an article about your scatterbrained friend who can’t work a car stereo. Or your Aunt Mabel who is petrified of driving on the freeway. Or even that clueless bozo who cut you off in traffic today.
This article discusses the two demographic categories of drivers who are statistically the most likely to be involved in auto accidents (and therefore also pay the highest car insurance premiums). That would be teenagers under the age of 18 and elderly people above the age of 80. Those two groups are 9 times as likely and 5.5 times as likely respectively to get into crashes than middle-aged American drivers, who are among the safest on the roadways.
So for these high-risk drivers, what type of vehicles are appropriate? The largest, most-tank-like vehicle you can buy? Or a car with an engine that’s only slightly more powerful than the average lawnmower?
Neither, actually. What you’re looking for are vehicles that have excellent crash test ratings, a plethora of safety features, and a reputation of reliability.
Parents of teenagers should avoid buying them a large sport utility vehicle or a pickup truck. Even though they have a lot of metal that can provide exterior collision protection, these bigger vehicles are more likely to tip over, thus increasing the risk of a rollover accident. Senior citizens should opt for vehicles which provide good driver visibility and positioning, front seat comfort, and access to controls. These are the attributes which will simplify the driving experience for octogenarians.
There is a long list of vehicles which meet the criteria for either elderly drivers or teen drivers. But there are only five which satisfy the requirements for both groups. They are:
1. Honda Accord 4-cylinder
Model years: 2008-2012
The Accord got the highest possible safety ratings from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also comes with standard electronic stability control.
2. Nissan Altima 4-cylinder
Model years: 2010-2012
It scored highly in crash tests, especially those occurring from the side (which tend to be more dangerous than rear-end or frontal collisions). In addition to the driver’s airbag, the Altima comes with a passenger airbag, a side airbag, a side head airbag, and a rear head air bag.
3. Toyota Camry
Model years: 2010-2012
The Camry received an overall five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, and perfect scores from the IIHS. It has all of the same airbags as the Altima plus a rear body airbag.
4. Toyota RAV4 without a third-row seat
Model years: 2006-2012
Toyota is the only automaker with two vehicles that are highly recommended for both seniors and teens. The RAV4 got high marks for safety, has standard electronic stability control, and boasts a total of five airbags.
5. Subaru Forester nonturbo
Model years: 2009-2012
This SUV garnered perfect marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, though it’s not as reliable as the Accord or Camry. But the five airbags and electronic stability control help improve the safety of its occupants.