Auto paint colors bespeak the driver’s taste. Yet did you know that car colors make it possible to predict the likelihood of crashing? Adding insult to injury, the most popular car color is not necessarily the safest one. Do you have a crash waiting to happen in your driveway?
White: The Most Popular Car Colors in America
The 2011 DuPont Automotive Color Popularity Report highlights that 23 percent of American drivers favor white cars, while 18 percent appreciate black automobiles. About 16 percent of car owners prefer silver auto paint colors. It is a good thing that American drivers favor white, because the Accident Research Centre of Monash University concludes that “no colour was statistically significantly safer than white.” Really?
Silver: Safe Car Color
The British Medical Journal disagrees. A December 2003 press release claims “silver cars are safest” and there is a measurable 50 percent injury risk reduction when compared to white cars. In these findings, injury risk went up for drivers in brown, black and green cars.
White and Maroon: Unsafe for Bicyclists
Even though white may be a safe car color for the motorist, it spells trouble for a cyclist. The Canadian Medical Association concluded in 1998 that drivers of white or maroon cars are the least likely to give bicyclists extra space when passing. Anecdotal evidence suggests that approximately 75 percent of drivers in vehicles with white auto paint colors would engage in unsafe driving while around cyclists.
Black: More likely to be Driven by Speeders
A 2004 California State Science Fair project points to black and silver car colors as being driven by likely speeders. Yellow, blue and silver cars were operated by motorists more likely than not to ignore a stop sign. Although purely anecdotal, is it possible that driving behavior goes hand in hand with choice of car colors?
Car Colors and Driver Behavior
In a 2004 white paper, the AAA Foundation explained that color influences behavior, but it is difficult to define driver behavior simply by the vehicle’s exterior. For what it is worth, lime yellow is identified as the safest car color, while fire engine red is the least visible — especially at night. Moreover, the backdrop and also the weather have a huge impact on whether a car color is deemed safe or not. Do not forget to also consider the auto paint colors of the vehicles that surround you; do you stand out in a blue car in a sea of yellow automobiles, or are you just one of 20 silver automobiles going down the highway?
So what is the safest car color currently available? There is no decisive study to give you an answer except lime yellow. Are you ready to repaint?