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Car Colors: These Are the Most Dangerous and the Safest

By Autolist Editorial | March 15, 2022

The next time you are in the market for a new car, carefully consider what color you choose, among other factors to look for in a vehicle. While deciding on what color you would like is an enjoyable part of the car shopping process, it turns out that the car color you choose may be influential on your chances of getting into a car accident.

It may sound strange at first, but some car colors are safer than others.

Here are the safest car colors and which car colors to avoid when picking out your next car.

The Safest Car Colors

According to Kelley Blue Book, silver is the most popular car color, with white vehicles following in close second, but does that mean silver cars are the safest? Unsurprisingly, bright colors are safer than dark colors and have a statistically lower crash risk.

The main reason some colors carry a higher crash risk than others relates to how easily motorists can see them. Cars with bright colors are less likely to get into a car accident because other drivers notice them quickly, especially when driving in bad weather conditions and after daylight hours. Conversely, cars with a dark color are challenging to see at night.

A Reader's Digest story quoted an Auto Accessories Garage representative: "The reason brightly colored vehicles like white and yellow cars are less likely to be involved in an accident is the same reason they're less likely to be stolen: visibility. A white car is much easier to see than a dark-colored car. The better other drivers can see you, the more likely they are to hit the brakes before it's too late."

These are the safest car colors:

White and Yellow:
In 2007, the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) in Melbourne, Australia, released a report on car accident rates by car color. Their study used crash data between 1987 and 2004 for Victoria and Western Australia. They focused on crashes where the vehicle's paint color was available. The study included 102,559 crashes from the state of Victoria and 752,699 crashes from the state of Western Australia. The report revealed that white was the safest color for a vehicle with the lowest crashes recorded.

According to the study, white cars are 12% less likely to get into a car accident than black cars, regardless of the time of day. Following close behind are beige, cream, and yellow cars. In some studies, yellow vehicles surpassed white as the safest color.

Given that few elements in traffic and on the road are entirely white, a white vehicle creates more contrast to its environment, making it easier to see. Yellow cars share the same sentiment and stand out easily.

Orange vehicles stand out on the road like yellow and white cars, making them easy to see. Another benefit is that orange isn't a popular car color, so there aren't many of them on the road.

Gold cars may not be your first color choice, but they are a safe color since they are noticed quicker than dark colors. Like orange cars, gold vehicles not only stand out against the background of traffic and roads, but they are rare enough to make other motorists notice them.

The Most Dangerous Car Colors

The most dangerous car colors are dark-colored cars; the darker the color of the vehicle, the higher the chances of getting into a collision.

However, there are some exceptions. Below are the colors that carry a higher crash risk:

According to the results produced by the Monash University Accident Research Centre and other statistics, black cars are the most dangerous cars because they have the highest crash risk. However, different studies produce different figures, ranging from 10% to 20% more hazardous than light-colored or bright cars. For example, one study reported that black cars are 47% more likely to get into a car accident than light-colored cars.

Besides black cars being more challenging to see in dark and poor weather conditions, they also blend in well with their surroundings during light conditions, which creates that split-second hesitancy from other drivers that can lead to a car accident. In addition, black cars can blend in well with the dark background colors during the daytime, including buildings and roads.

Gray and Silver:
Silver cars may be one of the most popular car colors, but they also rank high as one of the most dangerous colors, together with gray. Silver vehicles have an increased likelihood of getting into an accident of around 10%, compared to light-colored cars.

Blue is a prevalent color, and it's quickly becoming a favorite car color among motorists. Still, besides blending into night-time colors, it also blends into the surroundings during daylight hours. Blue cars can blend in with the sky's color, making it very hard to see or spot. As one can expect, dark blue vehicles carry a higher crash risk because the darker the shade, the higher the risk of getting into an accident.

Red is a bold color and often favored by sports car enthusiasts, but red vehicles are the exception to the rule because red is arguably the most visible car color. Red cars have an increased risk of getting into an accident because they blend in with many traffic elements, including brake lights, road signs, traffic lights, sirens, and many more.

Once seen as a dated throwback to avocado-colored cars of the '70s and teal cars of the '90s, green vehicles are again gaining popularity. But, unfortunately, they carry the same risk as red cars. They blend into many traffic elements and the environment, including trees, grass, bushes, etc.

Don't Panic; it's a Small Difference.

If you are getting ready to purchase a new vehicle, don't solely base your choice on the best car colors for safety. Although the 12% difference is nothing to ignore, other factors play a more prominent role in car accidents, such as the weather conditions, the quality of your and others' driving abilities, and the state of your car.

So, if you are suddenly nervous about purchasing a black car because of its high accident risk, bear in mind that it is not immediately destined to be an accident-prone vehicle.

Ensure you practice safe driving regardless of what color car you drive and pay attention to these factors:

  • Weather conditions: Always adapt your driving style to the road and weather conditions like fog, rain, and snow. Not only do you have reduced visibility and a limited braking distance, but so do other motorists on the road.

  • Distracted driving: Those drivers who do not immediately see dark-colored cars are most likely not paying complete attention to the road. When you solely focus on driving, you can avoid distractions and notice dark-colored vehicles in time. That means putting your mobile phone away and choosing to use Bluetooth instead. Texting and driving accounts for about 30,000 crashes annually, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

  • Aggressive driving behavior: Driving over the speed limit, rushing to beat traffic lights, taking fast corners, and overtaking dangerously, are driving behaviors that will increase your chances of getting into an accident.

  • Driving while intoxicated: Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated won't have you missing specific car colors, but all cars on the road when you cannot comprehend what you are doing or see clearly. Do not drink and drive, and do not do drugs.

Finally, when shopping for a new or used car, consider a vehicle's crash test scores and reliability ratings. And while color may be on your mind, look for abundant safety features because even though they won't prevent crashes all of the time, they can help make an event less likely or less severe.

Why the Fuss About Car Color?

You may choose a car's paint color based on your favorite preferences or something that highlights your personality, but next time, give it some extra thought.

The color of your car can affect several factors, including:

  • Resale value: Orange Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingrays are more valuable because that was the year the color first debuted. Kelley Blue Book also notes that less popular shades, browns and greens, actually lower a vehicle's resale value.

  • Maintenance: Some paint colors are more challenging to keep and get clean. For example, darker cars take the most work to keep clean for scratches and scuff marks, as blemishes stand out more clearly on their surfaces, so prepare to visit the car wash more often. White, silver, and gray cars can keep a clean look longer than black or red cars.

  • The type of car you buy: Different car colors suit different types of vehicles. For instance, red and yellow are often associated with sports cars. You won't often find a yellow pick-up truck, but it's relatively easy to find a yellow Chevy Camaro.

  • Risk of theft: A study from CCC Information Services revealed that silver cars are stolen more often than any other car color, followed by white and black cars. Aside from the color not standing out boldly like a red car, there are more silver, white, and black cars on the road, meaning thieves have more targets to choose from and blend in with. Car thieves also like to steal vehicles sporting popular colors because these cars have higher resale values.

  • Safety: Some colors are safer than others because they can help prevent a car accident. Popular lore suggests that the color of your car affects your car insurance premium. However, this is nothing but a myth. Although insurance companies care about the make and model of any vehicle they underwrite, they don't judge the car's owner based on car color, as many people fear. Contrary to popular belief, for example, owners of red cars don't have higher insurance premiums than other owners.