Here’s a 19 year old in a 2012 BMW M3 – he was not hurt in the crash:

It’s my opinion that teens and high-performance cars shouldn’t mix. I feel this is obvious on it’s face, but just in case you’re wondering why I feel this way, here’s a short list of reasons:

  • It’s easier to make a tragic mistake in a high performance vehicle. Nick Hogan, son of pseudo celebrity Hulk Hogan, nearly killed himself and his passenger in a 2007 car accident in which Hogan was driving his dad’s Toyota Supra in excess of 100mph. The kid in the video above was LUCKY – things could have been much worse. If he would have slid into those rocks instead of hitting them head-on, the car would have rolled…and he likely would have needed an ambulance.
  • Fast cars require skills, experience and maturity that young drivers simply don’t have (more on that below).
  • It’s expensive. Insurance rates are sky-high for teens with high performance cars, not to mention the cost of the cars themselves.

Skills, Experience, and Maturity Matter When You’re Driving Fast

As you saw in the video above, a young driver made a series of mistakes:

  1. Driving fast on public roads is illegal for a reason…members of the public are usually on the road with you. I doubt this kid made sure the road was clear before he started his little racing adventure. What if he had hit a bicyclist? A sandy spot of road?
  2. He didn’t scout the road first and/or memorize the sequence of turns. Unless you’ve got a co-driver giving you directions (as in rally racing), you need to run the course a few times and make sure you know the turns…that’s how the best drivers in the world do what they do without making a mistake.
  3. He wasn’t in a good driving position – he was sort of hunched over the wheel rocking back and forth…I don’t know of any race car driver that sits this way.
  4. He didn’t understand that lifting off the throttle at the wrong time can cause understeer.
  5. Experience tells us that blind corners demand a reduction in speed…obviously, this kid doesn’t have that experience (only he probably does now).

Why Parents Make This Mistake

Having talked to quite a few parents intent upon putting their teen driver in a fast car, I can offer a little insight into their reasoning. Far be it for me to tell anyone how to raise their children, but if you’re thinking about putting your teen behind the wheel of a fast car, I’d encourage you to read and reflect on the following.

He’s such a good kid.” He or she gets straight A’s, plays on the varsity squad, never breaks curfew, etc., so his or her parents feel that their child is trustworthy enough to manage a fast car. Perhaps. But consider:

  1.  Being attentive in school doesn’t automatically qualify someone to drive a fast car – one has little to do with the other.
  2. It’s not a question of responsibility, it’s a question of temptation. The temptation to push the envelope is human – even the most responsible, intelligent people can go too far.
  3. No one is made of stone. If you put 400 horsepower at a grown man’s fingertips there’s a chance he’ll make a bad choice…that’s why insurance rates are expensive for anyone who drives a fast car. These cars have a power over us.

She’s earned it – I made a deal and now I have to live up to my end of the bargain.” While I admire the desire to treat a child as fairly as possible, no parent should ever agree to a deal that risks their child’s life. If you made this deal, you made a mistake – don’t put your child in a position where they have to pay for your error in judgment.

I always wanted one when I was his age.” Everyone wants to give their child the things they never had themselves. However, there’s a difference between spoiling a child and risking a child’s welfare. It’s indisputable that a teen’s risk of injury increases dramatically when they drive a fast car (this is why insurance is so expensive). Therefore, a spoiling them in this way could lead to injury (or worse).

What parents should buy their teen drivers: A safe mid-size car with a small motor – a Toyota Prius is just about perfect – is the best option. They’re safe, reliable, and they’ll never encourage your teen to take risks in the way that a fast car encourages this behavior.

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