Only One Pickup Truck's Headlights Rated as 'Good' in New Study

The study looked at the headlights of 11 pickup truck models.

— -- Owners of the top-selling pickup truck in the United States may be disappointed that it was among the poorest performers in a recent test of headlight effectiveness.

Only one pickup truck, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline, earned a top rating of "good."

Ford was quick to note that while the F-150's headlights did not receive a positive rating in this study, the truck continues to get top ratings in safety overall.

"Safety continues to be one of the highest priorities in the design of our vehicles. In addition to being the only 2016 [Insurance Institute for Highway Safety] Top Safety Pick among full-size pickup trucks, F-150 has also earned the federal government’s highest 5-star overall safety rating," Ford said in a statement to ABC News.

Pickup trucks are the latest focus of a larger study of headlight safety by the institute, which looked at the same feature in midsize cars and small sport utility vehicles earlier this year.

The institute "launched its headlight ratings after finding that government standards based on laboratory tests allow for huge variation in the amount of illumination headlights provide in on-road driving," a press release from the organization said.

Federal regulations require a certain amount of light to be projected from the headlights, but there is no standard for how far the light must reach.

A senior research engineer for the highway safety group told ABC News that the findings of its headlight tests so far aren't good.

“Unfortunately, the new results that we’re releasing [on pickup trucks] are consistent with results that we have been seeing” with other vehicles, the institute engineer, Matthew Brumbelow, said. “Across the board, we’re seeing very few headlights that have good or acceptable ratings.”

In its study of pickups, the group's engineers measured how far light is projected from a vehicle's low beams and high beams as the truck travels straight and on curves.

The amount of glare from low beams for oncoming drivers was also measured.

Among the 11 pickup models evaluated, there were 23 possible headlight combinations, including LED, high-intensity discharge, and halogen projectors and reflectors in both the low-beam and high-beam type. A vehicle's high-beam assist was also taken into account.

Although most of the headlights evaluated were deemed unsatisfactory, there is some good news. Brumbelow said just changing how headlights are installed can improve their performance.

“Aiming [of the headlights] is important,” he told ABC News.

He said that already, in response to the institute's earlier studies of headlights, “A lot of manufacturers have gone back to the factory to change that aim to get it where it needs to be.”

Regardless of a car’s headlight rating, the institute encourages drivers to use their high beams as often as possible when other drivers aren’t around.

Larger pickups in the study included the 2016 Ram 1500, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline, the 2017 Nissan Titan, and the 2016 and 2017 models of the GMC Sierra, the Chevrolet Silverado, the Ford F-150 and the Toyota Tundra.

Smaller pickups evaluated included the 2016 models of the Chevrolet Colorado, the GMC Canyon and the Nissan Frontier and the 2016 and 2017 versions of the Toyota Tacoma.

The top performer:Honda's 2017 Ridgeline got the highest rating, thanks to its LED projector low beams, which provided "fair to good visibility on most approaches, with inadequate visibility only on the gradual left curve," the report said. High-beam assist, a feature that automatically switches on high beams if no other vehicles are nearby, makes up for some of the deficiencies of the low beams, the report added. High-beam assist is on several of the models tested.

The catch? The only Ridgeline model with "good" headlights is also the most expensive version of the model. Buy a cheaper version without the bells and whistles, and the headlight rating falls to "poor."

The Middle Ground:

The GMC Sierra is the only truck with a moderately positive rating of "acceptable" -- but only on certain versions of the car. For some versions, the Sierra earned poor ratings -- specifically, with its high-intensity discharge projector headlights. GM declined to comment about these results to ABC News.

Both Halogen and LED headlights available on the Nissan Titan earned a "marginal" rating.

GM, which makes the GMC Sierra, Chevy Silverado, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon, declined to comment on the report.

Nissan told ABC News in a statement that safety continues to be one of the highest priorities in the design of its vehicles.

"In the spirit of continuous improvement, Nissan evaluates all independent test results and will seek to use them to make product improvements wherever possible," the company said.

Meanwhile, only the halogen reflector headlights on the Ram 1500 earned a "marginal" rating; the halogen projector headlights Ram 1500 headlights earned a "poor" rating.

Ram 1500 maker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also released a statement to ABC News about the study's findings, saying that the one test does not determine overall vehicle safety.

"This is a new test with specific benchmarks that don’t align with regulatory requirements. FCA US vehicles meet or exceed all applicable federal motor-vehicle safety standards," the company statement said, adding that it will continue to evaluate the safety performance of its vehicles.

The Worst Performers:

All of the small pickup trucks evaluated by institute received poor ratings on headlights.

Additionally, the headlights of the 2016 and 2017 models of the Chevy Silverado, the Ford F-150 and the Toyota Tundra all received poor ratings -- something that some automakers were clearly not happy about.

"The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) periodically develops new, more specialized tests that go beyond federal requirements, which all Toyota vehicles meet," Toyota released in a statement to ABC News.

"The Institute’s new vehicle headlight assessment is the latest such test. It sets a more stringent glare criteria than what is required by the federal standard," Toyota continued. "We are evaluating the results for Toyota and Lexus models and will need to determine the appropriate aiming tolerance for each model’s headlight system in order to balance the test protocol’s criteria for down-the-road lighting performance and the amount of glare to drivers of oncoming vehicles."

ABC News' Daniel Steinberger contributed to this report.