Thirty years ago, you might have been warned not to buy a truck unless you literally couldn’t do without it. The worse safety ratings were the trade-off for the power, strength and capacity the truck provided. What many don’t realize is that trucks have been advancing in terms of safety as fast and sometimes faster than cars. Let’s look at a few reasons why trucks are safer than ever.
Pickups Have the Same Safety Features as Cars
Anti-lock brakes, air bags, and its weight distributed so it won’t roll over in normal conditions all make trucks as safe as the average car. In some regards, the truck is actually safer. You’re often higher up above the road, too, so you’re not going to be as badly hurt if you’re hit by another truck. Blind spot detectors, lane departure warnings, navigation systems, adaptive cruise control and safety exit assist are increasingly common in any truck that has more than the minimum.
Pickups Safely Carry Loads
The fact that trucks can safely carry loads makes them safer in a number of respects than a full packed car or a car pulling a trailer. For example, items in the truck bed are a lot less likely to go flying forward and hit the driver if you’re in a front-end crash. The fact that trucks are made to carry the load improve everyone’s safety. For example, you won’t end up losing items lashed down to the top of the car, though you could cause an accident if it falls off and hits the car behind you. Storing them in a truck bed securely held down by lashings and further kept there by the tail gate is the safer alternative. Nor is your visibility hindered by a high pile of items stacked in the back of the vehicle.
The fact that the pickup is made to pull a trailer or carry a heavy load drives truck sales, too. A truck is designed to handle the heavy load behind it in the form of a full trailer. The tires and suspension are literally made for this. Try to do the same by tying a trailer to your car or adding an extra hitch to a car bumper, and you risk damaging the car and losing control of it on a tight turn. Stow bicycles in the back of the truck instead of trying to mount them on a bike rack on the top of the car or a precarious attachment to the rear of the vehicle.
The ability to safely carry loads all day every day can improve your safety in other ways. It is easier to carry full spare tires, jacks, bottled water and emergency supplies in a truck than the back of a compact car.
Trucks Can Often Go Where Cars Cannot
Most trucks are designed to be workhorses. They may not be able to drive over boulders and on rugged terrain like a jeep, but they’re better suited for driving through mud and on dirt roads than the average car. The fact that you’re higher up over the road driving with often bigger than average tires means those potholes don’t do as much damage to the car, either.
Then there’s the fact that mass matters when you’re in an accident. We’ll say now that no one wants to be in an accident, but trucks have an advantage when they are hit. When you hit a smaller, lighter vehicle, the driver of that vehicle is subject to more force. Your truck has to be hit by something just as big or going much faster to crumple. And if you’re hit by an 18 wheeler, your greater size and elevation above the ground makes it similar to being side-swiped instead of having the top of the car ripped off.