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On The Road

Buying a Perfect Family Car

Not sure what’s the best car for your family? It’s OK — you’re not alone!

Before you start comparing important things like cup holders and paint colors, get a sense for the smartest features for safety and comfort. Hit the dealership feeling confident that you’re protecting your loved ones’ dreams with the right family car!

Safety Checks

On the most basic level, search for a car with these safety features — perfect for a family on the go.

Electronic stability control. Helps you stay in control in varying road and weather conditions.

Child safety locks and windows. Keeps pets and kiddos secure with windows that stay at a safe height and doors that lock once the car starts.

Anti-lock brakes. Offer safety (and confidence) when braking in rain and/or snow.

Air bags. While these are pretty standard, it’s important to look for ones that can be de-activated for seats holding a child age 12 or under. Here’s some must-know air bag facts to help you better understand how this car safety feature works.

Lane departure warnings. If you’re unexpectedly distracted, this alert helps you regain focus and stay in your lane.

Front collision and rear collision warnings. Beep! This helps you avoid people, objects, animals and vehicles that are too close to your bumper.

Rearview backing camera and blind spot monitors. Adds another layer of protection when backing out of a driveway or parking spot.

Rollover airbags/side-curtain airbags. These drop along windows to protect you and your passengers in both side impact and rollover accidents.

Extra Protection

These safety add-ons can give you even more peace of mind.

Automatic crash notification. In the case of a serious impact, this system notifies emergency responders that your car has crashed and will direct them to your location.

Crash-imminent braking. In this case, the vehicle’s system will start braking without the driver’s input if a crash is imminent and the driver hasn’t taken action.

Lane-keeping support. This device goes a step beyond the warning system, actually moving the steering to correct the vehicle, keeping it in the correct lane.

Pedestrian-impact braking. The driver is warned about pedestrians in front of the car and, if the driver takes no action, the system will brake to avoid hitting or reduce the impact on the pedestrian.

Curious how the car you’re interested in ranks for safety in accidents? Take a closer look at

Road Trip Amenities

If you love to travel and want to take your kids on cross-country adventures, you may want to consider amenities to make longer trips more comfortable.

Entertainment. A built-in DVD player can be helpful if your kids are too small for smart phones/tablets – or if you want to entertain the entire backseat with the same show. Who says movie night can’t be taken on the road?

USB ports. One just isn’t enough anymore — especially when nearly everyone in the car may be using a hand-held device! Some makes and models include ports in the back seat.

Cup holders. You’ll never be sorry to have extra!

Safety kit. It’s always a good idea to have a car safety kit just in case you find yourself facing the unexpected. Things like blankets, water and a first-aid kit might just come in handy!

Seating Capacity

The number of children you have becomes a big factor when choosing the right capacity — especially if you want to include their friends in the fun. You might need to haul 7-8 people at a time! Think about where you’ll be in four years, since changing cars every few years isn’t always a priority once you have a family.

Hint: Don’t forget your furry friends! If you have a family pet — or two or three — you’ll also want to make sure to have room for them to be safe and comfortable.

Storage Capacity

If you’re on a road trip with your children and pets, can you still fit your suitcases inside? How about a couple hockey bags? Do you frequently go on trips with bikes or kayaks? You might need to add a rack to the top of your vehicle and/or a hitch to carry your bicycles or extra luggage. It’s better to plan ahead for all the adventures you dream of taking. Check out our tips for organizing your car like a pro.

Now that you know the features to look for in your next family car, check out our tips to make car buying better to make the process easier. No matter what car you choose, your American Family Insurance agent will always be by your side to help customize your car insurance coverage. It’s all about protecting your family’s unique dreams!

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Related Topics: On The Road , Car Buying , Car Safety