That Aluminum 2015 F-150? Yeah, It’s Pretty Safe
Nobody ever thinks that they’re going to be involved in a traffic accident. Yet, thousands of people every year in this country are. That’s why automakers like Ford take crash safety extremely seriously. Many people questioned Ford’s use of aluminum in the new F-150, and some even questioned how it’d respond in a crash.
Well guess what? It did pretty well.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the new 2015 F-150 with an overall score of five stars. That’s 5 stars for a crash from the front, and 5 stars for a crash from the side. Rollover protection wasn’t 5 stars, but four. That’s still impressive, and matches the best trucks in the segment in rollover.
To achieve this level of safety, Ford started with steel. That’s right, steel. The fully-boxed frame is made from high-strength steel, and extra bracing was added to improve crash rigidity. Even so, by re-engineering the frame for 2015, they were able to save 60 pounds of body weight.
The engineers at Ford also looked at using different shapes for the crash structure. It turns out that certain shapes, when made out of certain material, dissipate energy differently in a crash. It’s important to use the most efficient designs possible to help reduce injuries in an accident and also save vehicle weight.
We’ve talked at length about the aluminum body, because a tough aluminum body is also a safe aluminum body. Many body pieces used adhesives to bond the parts together instead of welds. These adhesives create a better seal, and improve the strength of the body.
There are also some excellent drivers assistance packages that help prevent the truck from getting into an accident in the first place.
The adaptive cruise control option features a crash warning function. It will precharge the brakes and give the driver both an audible and visible alert that a crash is potentially imminent. That way if the driver isn’t paying attention, he or she will still hopefully have enough time to respond.
Additionally, active lane keep assistance keeps the truck between the lines. It can actively do it, by lightly nudging the steering wheel towards the center of the lane, or it can alert you with an audible warning when you start to leave the lane.
The SuperCrew configuration, which was the one tested, can also be equipped with inflatable rear seat seatbelts. These seatbelts have little airbags in them that expand in a crash. This helps soften the blow of the seatbelt locking up against the occupant and reducing injury.
These types of features were once only available for those who purchased premium luxury vehicles like Mercedes-Benz. But that technology has trickled down into the cars and trucks that we purchase every single day.
Did you expect a modern truck to not perform well in a crash test? We didn’t. But it’s still nice to see Ford putting such a strong effort in occupant safety, along with strength to get the job done.
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