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The 2021 Ford F-150 is one of the most beloved pickup trucks, and now it’s considered one of the safest, too. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just awarded the 2021 Ford F-150 with its coveted Top Safety Pick award. This is an improvement from the 2020 Ford F-150, which missed the award due to its headlights.

A white 2021 Ford F-150 pulling a trailer on the highway.

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Is the 2021 Ford F-150 safe?

Winning the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick award demonstrates that the 2021 Ford F-150 is indeed considered a safe pickup truck. It receives good overall ratings in each of the IIHS’ six crashworthiness categories. It’s worth noting that within these categories are subcategories, and though most of them are good, some, like the lower leg/foot in the small overlap test receive an acceptable rating.

It’s also important to note that the good rating for the small overlap test applies only to the 2021 Ford F-150 XL SuperCrew made after March 2021. The same pickup built before March 2021 receives an acceptable rating, as does the structure and safety cage and driver restraint and dummy kinematics.

What is an IIHS Top Safety Pick award?

The IIHS gives out two awards to the safest vehicles. These include the Top Safety Pick award, as well as the Top Safety Pick+ award. In order to win the Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must have good crash test ratings in all of the IIHS’ crashworthiness categories. It also needs to have an advanced or superior crash prevention system. To earn the Top Safety Pick+ award, acceptable headlights at a minimum have to be the standard headlights offered.

On top of that criteria, you have to be able to buy the vehicle with acceptable or good headlights. That last part is important to note, because a vehicle winning the award doesn’t automatically mean it has good headlights. You have to make sure the trim you buy comes with good headlights. With half of all fatal crashes occurring at night, effective headlights are so important.

The 2020 Ford F-150 didn’t earn a Top Safety Pick award because of its headlights

The 2020 Ford F-150 did really well in the IIHS’ crash tests. Unfortunately, it was severely lacking in one major area; the headlights. The 2020 Ford F-150 had poor headlight ratings across the board, meaning you couldn’t get any headlights that were even acceptable. This is obviously problematic, and Ford worked to remedy this problem. The 2021 Ford F-150 has some headlight options that are rated both good and acceptable.

The 2021 Ford F-150 didn’t win the Top Safety Pick+ award because it does still have some poor headlight ratings. Not every available system is acceptable, at a minimum, so the 2021 F-150 can’t receive the IIHS’ top honor. Still, winning the Top Safety Pick award is an improvement over the 2020 model.

If you are interested in buying the 2021 Ford F-150, its designation as a Top Safety Pick is undoubtedly good news. Just make sure when you pick out your actual truck, that you’re aware of the trim that you’re purchasing, and everything that comes along with it. You’ll want to check its individual crash test ratings, and make sure it comes with good headlights.