Imagine this scenario. You get a brand new car, the color you’ve always wanted. You finally get the opportunity to take your new car out on the road for the first time. Unfortunately, a driver coming from the opposite direction doesn’t see you in time and hits your new car. This is something of a nightmare scenario, but it can and does happen.
The question is, could the color of your car have something to do with the chances of you being involved in an accident? Is it always about drivers not paying attention or being under the influence, or is there something more that comes into play that is directly related to the color of the vehicle itself?
Color Makes a Difference
It might be easy to believe that the color of a car doesn’t really make that much of a difference when it comes to the potential for being involved in an accident. However, studies conducted by major insurance companies and injury prevention research institutions proves otherwise.
As it turns out, there are certain colors that are among the safest in existence and others that have a tendency to be involved in more accidents based strictly on car color.
More will be discussed about why this is the case later on. For now, it’s important to know that choosing the right car color can potentially reduce the chances of being involved in an accident. As a result, it might also lower insurance costs.
Which Color Is the Safest?
It might not be a surprise that the safest color of car on the road is white. It’s relatively easy to understand why. White is a color that stands out against virtually everything else. Unless you do most of your driving on snow capped mountains, your white car is easier to see against virtually every other type of backdrop. In addition, white cars are typically easier to see at night, a time when more accidents have a tendency to occur. The same is true for bad weather.
The color alone has a tendency to stand out and this makes it easier for other drivers to see the car coming sooner rather than later. As a result, it becomes easier to avoid the car. This might also help when you’re dealing with drivers that aren’t paying attention, as the stark white color may actually get their attention before an accident happens.
Other Colors That Are Considered Safe
Other car colors that are typically considered safe include gold, yellow and orange. Just like white, these colors have a tendency to stand out.
For starters, there aren’t a lot of gold cars driving along the roadways. This means they have a tendency to stand out by the virtue of their gold color alone. In addition, there aren’t a lot of them in existence. This makes them stand out more, almost as much as a white car.
There are also comparatively few yellow and orange cars on the road. That said, these colors are easy to spot from a long way away, especially when it is the brighter neon versions of these two colors. As such, it’s easier to see these cars in all kinds of weather and at night, just as in the case of seeing a white car.
Which Color Is Most Likely to Be Involved in an Accident?
If white is the safest color, it may not come as any surprise that black is considered to be the least safe color of car one can purchase. In fact, most insurance companies agree that black cars are roughly 12% more likely to be involved in a car accident than any other color.
Why is this the case? For starters, they don’t always stand out against their surroundings. It might be fine to drive a black car on a bright, sunny day. However, imagine driving one in the dark of night or when the weather is so bad you can only see a few feet in front of you. That can make it far more likely for a car accident to occur. In addition, black isn’t a color that stands out. When you’re dealing with drivers that aren’t paying attention, they may not see a black car coming in time to avoid it.
Other Colors That Are Considered Relatively Unsafe
According to studies, gray automobiles are not much safer than black ones. In fact, they are about 11% more likely to be involved in an accident than a car of a brighter color.
The same thing can be said for silver cars, coming in right behind black and gray automobiles. Studies suggest that a silver car has about a 10% greater chance of being involved in an accident.
Surprisingly, blue vehicles are also on the list. Both they and red vehicles are said to be about 5% more likely to be involved in an accident. It might be easy to understand why blue cars are on the list, as much of the surrounding landscape can potentially be the same color, depending on the location and question.
Red cars have a tendency to stand out, yet they have roughly the same accident rate as blue cars and other cars that have a higher risk of accidents.
Green cars round out the group of relatively unsafe car colors.
Speculation about why these particular colors are so frequently involved in accidents can be found below.
What Makes Some Colors Safer Than Others?
In short, cars that tend to stand out a great deal are safer than those which might blend in with the area around them. This has already been lightly touched on, especially with regard to black and white automobiles. However, it’s worth discussing more in-depth. Some cars do indeed blend in with their surroundings and when they do, it can become difficult for other drivers to see them.
Of course, there are other factors involved as well. As previously mentioned, drivers who are under the influence or who simply aren’t paying attention may be more likely to be involved in a collision. This is especially true when compared to the car colors that readily stand out.
Is it all about color? Of course not. These days, it’s easier than ever to be a victim of distracted driving. There are so many other things vying for the attention of drivers that even the best drivers can sometimes have difficulty blocking it all out.
It can be hard to pay attention when traffic is heavy, at night or during inclement weather. By the same token, it can be a challenge to dedicate one’s full attention to the task of driving when there are people in the car who are having an argument or the driver is having a conversation on the phone.
During a time when more attention is paid to distracted driving than ever, more and more automobiles also have touchscreen displays with all kinds of entertainment and information available at the touch of a button. The problem is, drivers have to turn their attention away from the road in order to see what they’re pressing because it is a touch screen. This in and of itself can cause a whole host of problems.
What Role Does Color Actually Play?
When you think about the information above about distracted driving, you may be wondering how that has anything to do with the color of a car. Think about it this way. If you’re distracted and you see a car coming from quite a good distance away, you have the opportunity to make small corrections in order to avoid that automobile before it’s too late. This is especially true when the car really stands out against its environment.
Think about the neon yellow car or the orange one. This might get your attention when you’re about to pull out into an intersection so that you stop at the last minute. By the same token, you may be able to see that car from several hundred feet away, alerting you to the fact that you’ve crossed the center line and need to correct your mistake. Having time to do that safely is crucial. Cars that stand out more can potentially give you that extra time.
The Flip Side of the Coin
If a yellow or neon orange car can get your attention and allow you to avoid having an accident, what might happen if you were faced with the exact same scenario and the opposing car was a different color?
Imagine that the car is silver or black. Would you see that same automobile approaching in time to safely correct your mistake when you go over the centerline or would you continue driving until both automobiles are so close that it’s no longer possible to make a lane correction without overdoing it? This is how so many accidents happen.
The same is true of the scenario with the intersection. A silver or a black car may not be as readily visible as something that tends to stand out more. As such, you may inadvertently pull out in front of it. This is especially true if the car is in your blind spot.
The truth is, the color of that opposing car could make the difference between having an accident or going home safely.
Popularity of Certain Car Colors
If silver or black cars are far more likely to be involved in an accident than a white car, why are there so many of them on the road? What about blue cars or even red ones? Logically, it stands to reason that people would want to be as safe as possible when driving, especially when considering the speeds that are involved (and the potential for serious injury).
That said, most people don’t have a tendency to pick car color based on safety. Think about all of the gray and silver cars that are on the road. These are two of the most popular colors, yet they both make the list for being some of the least safe colors in existence.
Unfortunately, people have a tendency to decide on car color based on aesthetics alone. Safety rarely comes into play here. Even when it does, it’s usually shifted to the back burner in lieu of having a car that the individual in question likes. Some people are simply opposed to driving a white car because they don’t like the way they look. Unfortunately, that could mean that they pay for that opinion by compromising their safety.
Regulating Car Colors
If this is the case, why aren’t car colors regulated? It all comes down to the need to sell as many cars as possible. As such, it’s about making the cars look appealing so people will want to buy them. A car can incorporate all of the safety features in the world, yet if it doesn’t look good sitting on the showroom floor, no one will be interested in buying it.
People have a tendency to like black cars because they look sleek and sophisticated. The same is true for a lot of cars that are gray or silver in color. Others love blue cars because blue is a color that’s extremely popular, whether one is talking about cars or virtually anything else. Some people virtually insist on having a red car because they enjoy the prospect of having a sporty red car that looks fast and is capable of living up to its looks. In fact, the color of your car says a lot about your personality.
As such, it’s highly unlikely that car colors will ever be regulated. Therefore, it is in the hands of the consumer to decide for themselves whether or not they want to choose one of the safer car colors or go with something else and run the risk of being involved in an accident.
At the end of the day, it is indeed up to each individual. That said, it’s always better to make these types of decisions with as much knowledge as possible. By making an informed decision, the individual in question knows where they stand when it comes to their risk of being in an accident. That puts them in the driver’s seat when it comes to deciding on the right car color.