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Ford F-150 Models Earn Improved IIHS Safety Ratings

The 2021 Ford F-150 is only the second large pickup to earn a major safety award from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety.Thanks to improved headlights, the SuperCrew and Extended Cab versions of the pickup join the Ram 1500 as winners of the Top Safety Pick Award.

When you look at issues that might knock down a vehicle's safety level, one area that most people don't look at is the headlights. After all, headlights have been parts of cars and trucks for longer than 100 years.

Equjipment Taken For Granted

Indeed, we take headlights for granted and are sometimes surprised that a pickup might be marked down for the headlights it sports. That is what happened to the Ford-F-150 crew cab – and extended cab – last year. You can read more about the SuperCrew model here And, you can read more about the Extended Cab version of the SuperCrew here.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) marked the F-150 down for its headlights. This year, though, improvements in the pickup sports' headlights have raised the F-150 to the IIHS Safety Pick level.

According to the insurance safety organization, the changes to the headlights have caused the top-selling vehicle nameplate in the country to join the Ram 1500 as the only large pickups to earn the 2021 award from IIHS.

To qualify for the award, vehicles must earn good ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness evaluations. The six listings include the driver-side small overlap front, the passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. They must also be available with front crash prevention systems that earn advanced or superior ratings in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

Headlight Ratings Separated By Tier

The safety group says that its headlight ratings separate the higher-tier Top Safety Pick+ from the lower-level Top Safety Pick. For the lower-tier award, at least one good or acceptable headlight system must be available. For the plus level to apply, good or acceptable headlights must be standard across all trims.

The 2020 models of the two large pickups fell short of an award because those vehicles' available headlight systems earned poor ratings. The 2021 editions of both vehicles are now available with good or acceptable headlights on some trim levels. However, a poor rating for the base halogens with certain trims prevents them from earning the plus level.

The standard and optional front crash prevention system available on both trucks has earned superior ratings in the vehicle-to-vehicle evaluation. In the vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluation – which is very important for large pickups due to their size and weight – the standard, camera-only Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 has earned an advanced rating.

Award Applies To Both Vehicles

The award applies to both vehicles built after June 2021, equipped with good-rated adaptive LED projector headlights or acceptable-rated LED reflector headlights.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, and others. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.