A new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) test has revealed that most late-model pickup trucks have inadequate headlights. The latest IIHS ratings show that drivers of these vehicles found it difficult to see in the darkness.
They also make driving more complicated for other drivers, blinding them with the truck’s headlights. The four evaluated small pickups only come with poor-rated headlights. Regarding large trucks, the Honda Ridgeline is the only one available with good-rated headlights.
Pickups were the third vehicle category to go through the IIHS headlight evaluations. They began in March with Midsize cars. Small SUVs followed in July. Almost every car and small SUV performed poorly. The Toyota Prius was the only car to earn a good rating.
IIHS senior research engineer Matthew Brumbelow said that although car manufacturers have improved vehicle safety in recent years, they overlooked the headlights. The US non-profit organization launched these ratings after learning about the government’s unconvincing standards on the matter.
Poor ratings are due to excessive glare in most headlight combinations
According to the IIHS, laboratory tests made by the government allow too much variation of illumination lights provide while driving. IIHS engineers measured how far a vehicle’s low beams and high beams project light when the vehicle is traveling straight and on curves. They also measured glare from low beams for opposing drivers.
The 11 trucks tested have 23 headlight combinations. Notably, 14 of these combinations have excessive glare, hence the poor ratings. If a vehicle produces too much glare in any of the five test scenarios it can’t get a rating better than marginal.
One thing to cheer up was the headlight system on the RTL-E and Black Edition trims of the Honda Ridgeline. The LED projector low beam headlights offer fair to good visibility on most scenarios. They produce deficient clarity only while on the gradual left curve. However, the Ridgeline’s high-beam assist partially makes up for it.
All vehicle categories have the same disappointing pattern
The headlights on the Chevrolet Colorado offer the worst visibility. In comparison to the Ridgeline’s 358 feet illumination, the halogen reflector low beams on the Colorado merely project light to 123 feet.
Toyota’s Tundra and Tacoma, the Ford F-150, the GMC Canyon, the Nissan Frontier, and the Chevrolet Silverado are also among the worst performers. They all have poor ratings. Every single beam on the F-150 provides poor visibility and unacceptable glare in all test scenarios.
There are two models of headlights available on the Nissan Titan, and both earned a marginal rating. Regarding the Ram 1500, some trims have minimal lights, while others have weak ones.
The GMC Sierra is closer to the Ridgeline, being the only one with an acceptable rating. Acceptable is IIHS’ second-best rating of Good.
From 2017 onwards, vehicles looking to take home the IIHS Top Safety Pick will need good or at least adequate headlights to qualify for the award.