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Pickup trucks are insanely popular. Nobody questions that, yet a question that often goes unasked is just how safe they are. That may be because pickup trucks are so versatile and functional that safety becomes a backburner priority. For years safety organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have been warning people that the passenger seat of vehicles is especially deadly. In response, car manufacturers have worked hard to enhance the safety of the passenger seat in vehicles. Yet even with these safety improvements, the passenger seat in these pickup trucks is dangerous. Let’s look at their safety ratings.

2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 is great for towing
2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 | Chevrolet

2022 pickup truck safety ratings show not-perfect passenger seats

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that frontal crashes are the most common type of crash to end in fatalities. Years ago things were even worse, but safety organizations have been setting standards for car manufacturers to meet, and it’s helped improve the safety of the front seats. 

Still, things aren’t perfect. The IIHS conducts a test called the small overlap frontal test on both the driver and passenger side of vehicles. They began doing the driver side in 2012 in addition to a moderate overlap test. They say, “The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front left corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole.” In particular, it measures how well the seat belt and airbags do. 

How does the IIHS test trucks?

To conduct this test, the IIHS simulates what happens when a vehicle traveling at 40 mph hits a 5-foot tall rigid barrier. Specifically, the front left 25% of the vehicle hits the barrier in the driver side test. Once the IIHS started including this test in their ratings, car manufacturers began making the driver side of vehicles safer. 

Unfortunately, the safety measure they took didn’t always carry over to the passenger side. In 2017, the IIHS added the small overlap passenger side test to try to encourage car manufacturers to make the passenger seat safer as well. Although things have gotten better, they’re often still not quite as safe as the driver seat. Let’s look at the trucks that still don’t have a passenger side whose safety matches the driver’s side.

The 2022 Honda Ridgeline has just an acceptable safety rating on the passenger side

The Honda Ridgeline may have many positive attributes, but its safety ratings on the passenger side aren’t one of them. The 2022 Ridgeline gets just an acceptable rating on the passenger side small overlap crash test.

The 2022 Chevy Silverado safety ratings are concerning on the passenger side

The 2022 Chevy Silverado has a number of alarming safety ratings, but its passenger side small overlap test is certainly among them. It gets just a marginal rating in this test. However, the rest of its major overall crashworthiness scores are good. Yet its headlights and seat belt reminders are poor, and its child safety seat LATCH ease of use is just marginal.

The 2022 GMC Sierra Limited has a marginal passenger side

It’s no surprise that if the 2022 Chevy Silverado has a marginal passenger side small overlap result, the 2022 GMC Sierra Limited would, too. That’s because these trucks are mechanical twins. In fact, its overall test scores are the same with the exception of the seat belt reminders, which weren’t tested in the GMC Sierra Limited.

The 2022 Nissan Titan’s passenger side isn’t great

Another large pickup truck on the list with less-than-stellar safety ratings is the 2022 Nissan Titan. It gets just an acceptable rating for its passenger side small overlap crash test. In addition, its headlights have a poor rating.


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