A red 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is shown parked after visiting a used GM dealer.

Looking for a Safe and Reliable Vehicle for a First-Time Driver? Consider GM’s Lineup

For parents, every stepping stone our kids take is an important one. We document their first steps, words, and even their first day of school. However, some stepping stones cause more stress than others. Take, for instance, the first time they drive away from the house on their own. Sure, you’ve driven with them, and they officially passed the driver’s test; however, it’s still a pins-and-needles situation until they return. To ease the stress, it helps to know you’ve chosen the best GM model for your teen and have the support of your used GM dealer behind you with a trusted pre-owned vehicle. After all, it’s not just about buying the best car for your teens; it’s about ensuring that they’ll be safe on the road and, in turn, will learn safe driving habits.

The black interior and dash of a 2022 Chevy Traverse is shown.

Safety First: GM Safety Features That Are Perfect for Teens

There is a long list of things you might consider when purchasing a vehicle for your teen. For most people, safety is at the top of that list. GM offers a variety of driver-assisted features on their vehicles that help all drivers remain safe on the road. A few of the safety features that GM models offer are detailed below.

Rear Camera Mirror

The rear view camera option is great for most drivers, but especially teens, while they get used to using their mirrors. The camera acts as a guide and allows them to confirm what they’re seeing. This helps build confidence when using their mirrors, alleviating some stress they may feel when backing into a parking spot or reversing. GM rear view mirror options include high-definition sound and a visual grid that assess how close drivers are to surrounding objects. The visual aids are supplemented with an audio warning that increases as the objects get closer. Practicing with teen drivers to help them become comfortable with the system strengthens their abilities before they head out alone.

Following Distance Indicator and Forward Collision Alert

Learning how to drive with the flow of traffic doesn’t come naturally. Acclimating to that flow can be even harder for teens driving in both neighborhoods and open highways. GM vehicles offer the Following Distance Indicator that can help teens navigate through traffic and begin to feel comfortable with the ebb and flow of traveling with other vehicles surrounding them.

With the added assistance of Forward Collision Alert, drivers receive a warning when that vehicle suddenly stops or slows down quickly. The indicator lets drivers know when they’re too close to the car in front of them. The system shouldn’t be used to replace focus while driving, but knowing it is there as a supportive measure can help teens feel at ease.

Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert

This is another essential safety feature that helps teens as they begin driving on their own. The system alerts them when a vehicle approaches from the side and helps them understand the importance of checking their surroundings and mirrors before making a lane change.

Teen Driver Technology

GM offers additional support with its Teen Driver technology. Vehicles equipped with Teen Driver help encourage teens to take pride in driving. Essentially, this tool allows parents to set certain restrictions on the vehicle when their newly-licensed child is driving it, which includes control over aspects like radio volume and speed limits. The technology also provides a digital report card for teens and parents to assess. GM has offered Teen Driver on various vehicles since 2016. Since then, they have added the system as a standard feature on almost all models.

A black 2021 Buick Encore is shown driving near a lake.

Safety Features Help With Insurance Rates

Insurance rates are typically better with increased safety features, another reason why focusing on safety is essential when choosing a car for your teen. Insurance companies value brands performing well in crash tests, which is equally important as their reliability. With a good track record, popular safety features, and Teen Driver technology, GM brands are a good choice to help keep insurance rates low.

What GM Models Are Good Options for Teen Drivers?

One of the most important decisions in the process is narrowing down what type of vehicle your teen will drive. GM offers solid options with a history of reliability and value. Some great options for your teen are listed below.

The 2021 GMC Terrain

The GMC Terrain provides optimum driver positioning so teen drivers can see the road clearly. The 2021 GMC Terrain was recommended as a top choice for teen drivers by Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) thanks to its traction control, responsiveness in braking, and emergency handling.

The 2022 Chevy Trailblazer

The 2022 Chevy Trailblazer was also recognized by the IIHS and Consumer Reports due to its satisfactory testing results regarding crashworthiness. The Trailblazer received high marks for its crash-prevention systems, roof strength, and overall durability during all phases of the tests.

The 2021 Buick Encore

The 2021 and 2022 Buick Encore are good choices for teens and are rated highly by the IIHS. It’s a smaller SUV with the safety features associated with its larger counterparts while also providing the driver with elevated seating. In addition to high crash ratings, the Encore includes QuietTuning, exclusive to Buick. The system includes an enhanced windshield that offers noise canceling to limit distractions from outside and allow teens to focus on the road.

A black 2021 GMC Terrain is shown driving on a road.

Preparing Teens for the Road

As veteran drivers, parents know that driving involves skill and practice. In preparing teens for driving, there are a few things to focus on that will help everyone handle the inevitable better. The first thing parents can do is look for a reputable driving school to assist with teaching teens the ins and outs of driving.

In addition, start shopping for vehicles early. This allows your teen to acclimate to the vehicle they will eventually use full-time. The ability to practice and take their test with that car is key. The more comfortable they feel in the vehicle, the better. Understanding what each feature does, what warning lights mean, and how the vehicle drives in different situations are all valuable tools for new drivers.

Start teens off slow in parking lots and on less frequently traveled side roads. As they gain more confidence, think about the roads they will travel most often. Are there tricky spots on those roads? Difficult highway entrances or exits? Consider what areas might cause difficulty and work with them to increase their confidence. Work with teens in all driving scenarios.

Talk with them about merging, proper passing on two-lane roads, roundabouts, and four-way stops. That means practicing when it’s raining, during rush hour, or when the sun goes down. Beyond driving, discuss emergency situations with teens. What should they do if they get a flat tire, are involved in a crash, or get pulled over? While parents hope those situations don’t occur, teens should be prepared for whatever awaits them on the road ahead.

Start Them Off Right With a Safe GM Vehicle

For over 100 years, GM has been refining its brand and building on a reputation of durability and value. With state-of-the-art technology and impressive crash ratings, the GM family of cars is a good choice for teen drivers, and the added Teen Driver technology also helps put parents at ease. When looking for a suitable vehicle for your teen’s first mode of transportation, you can’t go wrong with GM’s array of exceptional models, especially when buying them on the used market.