In the last several years, the sale of pickups in the United States has grown exponentially. There are several reasons why interest in owning a pickup has surged lately, but we will get to that a little later. The reason people are lining up to buy a pickup truck isn’t that they offer great fuel economy, and they are easy to park in a tight spot, but these reasons aren’t slowing down the interest in pickup trucks. There is something that is truly American about driving a pickup truck, and let’s face it, driving a pickup truck does look super fun. But before you set out to purchase a brand new 2021 Ford F-150, there are a few things you should know. Keep in mind that driving a pickup truck isn’t the same as cruising around in a Hyundai Elantra. In fact, driving an F-150 is a whole different level of excitement, and you should be prepared for the adventure. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you have never driven or owned a pickup truck.
Pickup Trucks are as Popular as Ever
America’s obsession with pickup trucks began back in the 1980s and 1990s when trucks began boasting more than bench seats and AM radios. Without sacrificing utility, trucks started becoming as luxurious as any sedan, with leather seats, heated steering wheels, and plush interior materials. Basically, there was very little sacrifice choosing a truck over a luxury car. The only difference is that you are now able to drive in comfort while hauling a load of trash to the landfill or towing a trailer full of rocks.
The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in America for years, making it the perfect example of how far trucks have come and why they have become so popular. For starters, the Ford F-150 touts an impressive list of options and features that have only recently been introduced to the segment. Make no doubt about it; once you have parked yourself behind the wheel of an F-150, you will want to camp there indefinitely. The 2021 F-150 offers three available instrument clusters, two touchscreen options, and interior materials with distinctive colors and patterns that make interior designers blush with envy.
The new Ford F-150 is high-tech in every possible way, and you won’t be disappointed in the infotainment system’s split-screen interface or the SYNC4’s voice recognition or cloud connectivity. Better still, the gear shift knob folds flat to make room for a flat work surface that is the perfect home for your laptop. And as far as safety and convenience features, the F-150 offers an array of goodies, including hands-free driving, Alexa functionality, and even a built-in generator. The Ford F-150 is definitely not the pickup truck of days gone by.
Remember That You Are Not Driving A Car
Trucks have come a long way with the addition of goodies like power steering, power brakes, and other safety features, but keep in mind that you are still driving a truck. Trucks are wider, longer, and larger than your average sedan, so you need to keep that in mind while maneuvering through traffic. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the truck; just practice until you feel more comfortable behind the wheel. In time, you may even desire to take your truck out for some challenging off-road adventures.
Trucks are built for work purposes, which means they weigh more and can carry heavy objects. Because of the incredible payload ratings of modern trucks, you need to keep in mind that your truck’s handling can change when you load the bed with heavy objects. When you are hauling cargo, be well aware of the changing weight. When you have objects in the bed of your truck, take sharp curves more carefully and allow yourself more stopping time and distance. You should also be much more cautious behind the wheel when you are towing objects like a boat or a trailer. Again, towing can be intimidating, so take the time you need to practice and perfect your truck driving skills. It is also critical that you know and understand your truck’s towing capacities.
It Doesn’t Take a Corner Like a Porsche
Don’t get us wrong, modern trucks like the 2021 Ford F-150 handle quite well for their size, and there are plenty of features that make handling easier. That said, you still need to take it slow until you get comfortable driving your truck. The traditional rules of braking, accelerating, and turning in a sedan don’t always apply to trucks. Many drivers will find this out the first time they make a right-hand turn and bounce over the curb. A truck is longer than a car and requires practice making these tight turns. You will also need to brake earlier as trucks are far heavier than your average sedan.
However, trucks can also be much more powerful and faster than you will expect. The 2021 F-150 offers three engine options with 400 horsepower or more, which is well over twice the horses you will find under the hood of your typical sedan. And while you will discover that driving a powerful truck is quite exhilarating, it also means you need to be cautious. The bottom line is that you need to keep your foot light on the gas pedal until you have logged some time behind the wheel and feel more confident in your skills.
Be Well Aware Of Your Surroundings
The size and weight of your truck mean you need to be extra cautious of your surroundings. One of the first things you should do when you get a new truck is to learn the blind spots. This is especially important when you are on the highway and need to change lanes or merge into traffic. Keep in mind that you will need more space to perform maneuvers in your truck because it is bigger than a car. Many modern trucks offer blind-spot detection options, but it is still important to be aware of what is around you while driving.
Some people will feel rather confident the first time they get behind the wheel of their new truck but don’t let that go to your head, and don’t forget the basics of safe driving. When you first slide behind the wheel of your truck, do what you would always do when driving a car. As you ease into the seat, check your mirrors to make sure they are in position and you can see your surroundings. Be extra careful backing up as it is more difficult to see animals and small children passing behind you because of the height of the truck.
Have Fun in a Truck
If you do decide to buy a Ford F-150 or some other truck, the first thing you should do is take it to an empty parking lot or other wide-open space and practice driving it. From there, graduate to quiet streets with minimal traffic for some more practice. In fact, give yourself every opportunity to experience different situations while practicing driving your new truck. You will also want to drive your truck through empty parking lots and practice parking. The last thing you want to happen is to find out the hard way just how tough it can be to squeeze a truck into a parking space at your local supermarket.
Trucks are as popular as they have ever been, and the Ford F-150 is a fine example of a truck that has everything to offer. The F-150 is built tough and will make a great work truck. It is also quite comfortable and cozy inside, with plenty of neat convenience and safety features. When you test drive the F-150, you will immediately see why trucks are such a popular choice. Should you decide to become a part of the growing truck owner segment, we congratulate you. Just make sure you act with responsibility and learn how to drive your truck safely.