A full day before “Ice Storm 2009” hit my neck of Texas, my broadcast colleagues were filling the airwaves with special reports on the approaching storm, complete with its own logo and theme music.

When the storm finally arrived, those that weren’t already sliding over the ice-covered roads were urged to stay home, tune in and watch the 24-hour coverage from the comfort of their living room.

Unfortunately, I was one of those journalists who needed to be out “on the road” helping gather the news and in the office producing the next day’s edition. As editor, not making it in to work wasn’t an option.

Fortunately for me, this week’s test vehicle happened to be the new 2009 Ford F-150 pickup.

In the aftermath of what was “Ice Storm 2009,” I can now say that if you absolutely have to get there, you can count on a Ford truck to get the job done.

Let me stress in no uncertain terms, if you can avoid driving on ice, stay home. It is dangerous and in our 10-county area of North Texas, more than 2,000 accidents were reported due to the icy roads.

While some vehicles are more suitable for winter driving conditions than others, none are designed to handle an ice-covered overpass.

While I have nothing but praise for my F-150 test vehicle — that got me where I needed to go with absolutely no problem — I also had the benefit of 10 years of winter driving experience while living in Wisconsin and having completed several winter driving schools, including Volvo’s Ice Driving Course, which was conducted entirely on a frozen lake north of Quebec, Canada.

While there’s no substitute for experience, I have to say, the new F-150 is an amazing pickup truck worthy of the long list of awards which include being named “Truck of the Year” at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Motor Trend magazine’s “Truck of the Year” and my favorite award, “Truck of Texas” presented by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA).

What many readers may not know is the 2009 F-150 is also the safest full-size pickup on the road, having earned a top “5-star” rating for both frontal and side-impact crash-testing from the government while also receiving a “Top Safety Pick” award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Everyone knows the F-150 is “Built Ford Tough” and designed to handle any job you can give it. The new F-150 is also equipped with more standard safety features than most folks would expect in a pickup.

As just a small example, standard safety features include Ford’s Safety Canopy side curtain airbags, AdvanceTrac with roll stability control and a K-bag seat-mounted airbag, to name but a few of the features.

Thankfully, I didn’t need to put any of the F-150’s active safety systems to the test. I do, however, credit many of the truck’s other systems for keeping me out of those situations.

While I would have rather been home watching the 24-hour news coverage of “Ice Storm 2009,” I am definitely glad that one of my test vehicles this week happened to be the new F-150.

When I had to get on the road, it was more than up to the task of getting me where I needed to be safely and without incident.

For consumers in the market for a new full-size pickup, the new 2009 Ford F-150 is an absolute must for the test drive list. In this highly competitive truck segment, earning a single “Truck of” honor is an accomplishment. When you win the Big Three —NAIAS, Motor Trend and TAWA, you have a very special truck indeed. 

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association.

Comments may be sent to Neal at neal.white@wninews.com.