The Safest Car Colors
Although the idea is not accepted by everyone, there are a number of tendencies and studies that point to the fact that some car colors are safer than others. There are a number of variables that need to be taken into account such as weather conditions and the time of day, but overall light colors such as silver and white are accepted as the safest car colors. This is because bright and vibrant colors reflect more light than darker colors, making them easier to be seen even at a further distance. The United States National Safety Council says that the safest car color is “one that is highly visible in the widest range of lighting, weather, and vision conditions.”
There are a number of studies that have supported the idea that lighter colored cars are safer than darker ones. One study done by the University of California showed that drivers react differently to car colors because car colors influence their judgment of the distance between themselves and other cars. The study found that colors such as blue and yellow made cars seem closer while gray made them seem further away. Besides judgments of distance, psychological studies have showed that color affects behavior – that we react differently to certain colors. Some colors may encourage us to react more aggressively than others.
In another study held by Daimer Benz, it was found that the color conspicuousness of cars (the extent to which a color attracts attention or notice) had a wide range. White was found to have a conspicuousness level of 86%, but colors such as black, dark red, and blue were found to be as low as 4%. Similar to the Daimer Benz study, which showed that lighter colored cars attract more attention, a study at the University of Auckland in New Zealand linked car color to rates of injury causing accidents. The study showed that those who drove brown cars were at the highest risk of sustaining an injury in a car crash. Colors such as black and green also showed a higher risk of involvement in injury-causing accidents. While darker colored cars were linked to the highest risk for drivers, those who drove silver cars were shown to have the lowest risk. It was found that those who drive silver cars are half as likely to be involved in accidents leading to injury than those who drove dark colors such as brown, black, or green.
Although there is no proven scientific data or statistic that pinpoints the safest color car, it is safe to say that lighter colored cars are better than darker when it comes to visibility. When it comes to which color car is the best, there are many factors that come into play that may make one car safest in one situation and another car safest in another situation depending on a number of variables such as background color, weather conditions, lightness, and time of day. For example, the visibility of a white car, which has the highest visibility at night as well as the highest visibility in uniform light, is less visible against clouds, snow, fog, or a bright sun. In these situations it is thought that a yellow car is better because of its high visibility (but if you want to avoid a ticket you may want to avoid abnormally bright colors such as yellow.) Although silver is thought to be a good color because it is not found in nature, it is also difficult to see against a sunrise or sunset. It is thought that red is the least visible car color and it is known that people have poor peripheral detection of red.
Note: Although having a certain color car may make you more visible to others, it is still important to watch the road, and pay attention to your own driving as well as that of others. Car color may increase or decrease the visibility of your car to others, but if they or you are not paying attention, car color will have no influence on the outcome. If the safety of car color is important to you it is best to choose a light color, but do not expect this to ensure your safety, or to prevent you from being involved in an accident.