While other manufacturers have been improving their automatic driving assistance, Ford has done the same while following a dual path of inventing automated trailering devices. As a result, there are some high tech ways to take the danger out of hookup, parking, and towing a tandem vehicle. They’ve recently made strides in making payload safer, too.
In 2021, they added onboard scales and an active suspension to the F-150 menu. They already offered an exclusive sensor to prevent blind spots while towing and an exclusive assist system for parking tandem vehicles.
If shopping for a truck that’s going to pull or haul a load, it will be hard to find most of this equipment without choosing Ford. Some items can be bought aftermarket, but factory-installed features come under vehicle warranties and are guaranteed not to interfere with other features.
Ford offers blind spot coverage for the truck and is the only mainstream truck manufacturer doing the same for tandem vehicles. This enhanced technology provides coverage for any standard trailer hooked up to Ford trucks.
Within its many different features, there are seven cameras, four of which assist in blind-spot detection: one to see behind the trailer, one in the cargo box, one to see directly ahead of the truck, and one for lane departure assist.
Trailer Hook-Up Help
In addition to on-road safety, Ford focuses on flawless trailer hook-up. Three of their seven installed cameras assist with backup safety and trailer hitch ease. These cameras also help reduce common jackknife situations. Offered last year and more widely available this year, the F-150 Smart Hitch measures tongue weight to assist drivers with one of the trickiest aspects of trailering hook-ups.
Once the truck is put into reverse, the rearview camera system activates and displays guides to ensure the truck and trailer can connect without damage to either. The camera that shows the box can help with gooseneck hook-ups.
Ford’s cameras make backing up easier. In many instances, the need for spotters is gone since the camera does the work. Guides on the camera allow the driver to see which direction to turn for a smooth reverse with a trailer.
However, the big advantage is the Pro Trailer Assist. It actually allows the vehicle and its tandem trailer or camper to move in separate directions. For instance, if you need to place the camper in a campsite, but you don’t have room for your truck to stay straight while doing it. The dial will turn the camper while the truck continues to move slowly in a straight line.
Ford’s onboard scales assist with cargo weight estimations and help capacity limits. A camera dedicated to the cargo box helps the driver keep an eye on their load. This helps you identify any loose tie-downs or shifting cargo.
Special loading lights indicate whether the truck is overloaded, with the weight preset into the truck. In this era of doing things remotely, it seems only right that the Ford app lets you see the load’s weight on your smartphone. The touch screen will tell drivers the load’s weight as well.
With the adaptive suspension, the truck will sense the weight of the cargo towed and adjust valves in the shocks. This is a technology similar to the one that Ram has had for some time. Users can tell you that the drive is much smoother when the suspension is adjusted to deal with excessive bed weight.
Of course the adaptive suspension isn’t just about handling big loads. Pothole sensitivity measures reduce the bounce and pitching of the truck if you hit a dip or pothole in the road. Damping measures reduce the severity of the bounce for the truck’s passengers by preventing the tires from dipping as deep as the hole.
Ford’s trailering technology reduces stress for the driver and could save lives and property. Will this assistance be standard some day? If history is a guide, then the answer is yes.
Standards like tow-haul mode and trailer sway control were once just available features like the ones discussed in this article. Now most people would dream of buying a truck that didn’t have these features already built in.