IIHS says your pickup's headlights suck

Unless, of course, you enjoy inconsistent lighting and blinding everyone else on the road.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
Andrew Krok/CNET

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently started testing vehicle headlights by segment. This time around, it's testing pickups' peepers, and the results are, frankly, pretty awful.

The IIHS tested 11 different pickup trucks, in both full-size and mid-size segments, and only one truck achieved a "Good" headlight rating -- the 2017 Honda Ridgeline. The 2016-2017 Sierra scored "Acceptable," the 2017 Titan and 2016 Ram 1500 scored "Marginal," and literally every other truck couldn't outpace a "Poor" rating.

Glare was the biggest issue. Out of 23 different headlight combinations available, 14 created excessive glare, which can blind oncoming drivers. That much glare limits a vehicle to a "Marginal" rating, no matter what.

Inadequate visibility also played a part. The "Poor" Chevrolet Colorado's low beams only gave drivers 123 feet of visibility, compared to the "Good" Ridgeline's LED low beams and their 358-foot illumination. The Ford F-150, a staple of the US auto industry, featured poor illumination in both halogen and LED variants.

In future, automakers will need to improve their truck's headlights if they care about IIHS awards. Starting in 2017, the IIHS won't hand out its Top Safety Pick+ accolade to any vehicle scoring "Marginal" or "Poor" on the headlight test, which measures both glare and length of illumination along straights and curves.