Safest Pickup Trucks for 2012 Announced

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Pickup trucks have vied with sedans as the most popular style of vehicles for years. But if safety is what you want from a truck, J.D. Power and Associates has narrowed the list to two — the 2012 Ford F-150 and the 2012 Toyota Tundra.

It didn’t take a lot of data crunching for JDP to come up with this list of two trucks from the bigger list of seven brands. That’s because these two half-ton trucks are the only ones that passed with flying colors on the two big crash test measurements. Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found these trucks to be at the highest level of crash-worthiness.

These crash tests cover a bastion of frontal, side, rear, rollover, and head restraint testing. They also test crashes with both male adult and smaller framed female crash dummies. But additional safety features are also credited for getting these two trucks through the testing with flying colors.

Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

2012 Ford F-150
This truck is equipped with six standard air bags, four-wheel ventilated disc anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, trailer sway control, hill-start assist, and roll stability control. All versions except for the base XL model have MyKey programmable safety features. A Sync Smartphone pairing system includes 911 Assist service, which automatically contacts a 911 operator for help in the event of an air bag deployment. Optional safety equipment includes rear park-assist sensors, reversing camera, and rain-sensing wipers.

2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax
This truck is equipped with eight air bags, including knee air bags for the driver and front passenger. Additionally, the Tundra comes standard with four-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control, trailer sway control, and a Smart Stop system designed to prevent the truck from accelerating if the brake pedal is pressed. A reversing camera and front and rear park-assist sensors are optional.

Differing Rollover Tests
One of the most important tests for a truck is the rollover test since trucks have a center of gravity that is higher compared to other vehicles. Also, most studies show that four-wheel drive trucks have more of a tendency to roll over than two-wheel versions. It’s interesting to note that the government’s rollover tests had more stars for the Toyota Tundra’s four-wheel version than it’s two-wheel powered truck. In the case of the Ford F-150, the four-wheel drive version got the lower score of the two — only three out of five stars.

Any truck, but especially a large half-ton pickup, can be a challenge to operate and should never be driven like a car. The sheer size of these trucks makes them a danger to the smaller vehicles around them, and the braking distances are not as short in a large pickup. Lane changes are also a challenge with blind spots that reach back further. With the challenges of driving a truck, the importance of an excellent safety rating cannot be over emphasized. As with all automotive safety, sometimes accidents happen, so starting with the safest vehicle gives you the best chance of escaping harm.

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