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    GM pickups break barriers with latest safety ratings

    Safety is of paramount importance to all drivers, especially if you make it point to take a vehicle off-roading whenever possible. The combination of potentially dangerous terrain, heavy-duty equipment and unpredictable situations makes it essential to have top-of-the-line safety features. Whether these amenities are extras that you tack on as part of truck modifications or come included on the automobile, they certainly require some additional consideration as you go about shopping for a vehicle or updating one. 

    Drivers who are particularly concerned about safety may want to look into some of the new pickup trucks from General Motors. The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Silverado High Country 1500, GMC Sierra 1500 and GMC Sierra Denali 1500 all received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All of these vehicles share the same general components, which explains the similar high scores across the board. 

    Five-star ratings for GM
    These four pickups are the first trucks to achieve the top five-star rating from the NHTSA since the organization changed its testing program in 2011. All vehicles now undergo extensive crash testing that continues to evaluate how they perform in front, side and rear crashes, as well as in rollover accidents. They are also judged based on the safety features and preventative technologies that come included in each model. 

    "Safety is as important to truck buyers as it is to car buyers," said Gay Kent, general director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness for GM. "Silverado and Sierra set a benchmark for pickup truck safety by offering a full array of advanced features designed to protect occupants before, during and after a collision." 

    Features included
    A few of the features included on the upcoming GM models should make fans of pickup trucks take notice. At the center of the protection efforts are the high-steel boxed frames used on each of the models, which creates a strong and secure cab for drivers. Other elements, such as improved seat belts and air bags, also contribute to a safer interior. 

    In addition, a number of advanced amenities have helped to enhance these GM trucks. As part of crash avoidance systems, a new Safety Alert Seat uses vibrations to warn drivers of potential dangers in traffic. Similarly, the vehicle will warn passengers when it is approaching an obstacle, such as another car, too quickly, while a Lane Departure Warning notifies the driver when the truck goes over a lane line at high speeds. 

    Those who plan on doing some off-road driving in the truck will appreciate the four-wheel drive with antilock brakes, stability control designed to kick in when towing heavy loads, and OnStar technology, which can be accessed even when lost on a trail.