Are Car Color and Crash Risk Related?

When you decide to buy or lease a new car, what’s most important to you? Safety reviews and crash ratings are probably at the top of your list. While you might have a preference for a particular color car, it’s probably not something you give too much weight.

However, you might want to rethink that. Studies suggest that the color car you drive might actually influence the likelihood of getting into a serious or fatal car accident.

Here’s what you need to know.

Research Suggests White or Silver Cars Are Safest

When choosing a new car, white or silver might be the way to go. Several studies have concluded that these are the colors of vehicles associated with the fewest number of collisions. But which is it, silver or white? It depends on the study.

In 2007, researchers at the Monash University Accident Research Center in Australia found that, based on the data, white vehicles were clearly the safest. In the study, analysts explained that “no colour was statistically significantly safer than white.” However, they did concede the fact that some other color vehicles were not significantly more dangerous, either.

On the other hand, New Zealand researchers that analyzed crash data between 1998 and 1999 concluded that silver cars were safest. Specifically, the study “found a significant reduction in the risk of serious injury in silver cars compared with white cars.” That reduction in risk – 50 percent! In other words, of the cars included in the researcher’s data set, silver cars were involved in the fewest number of injury-causing or fatal accidents.

However, it is important to note that at least one study suggested that silver cars were among the most dangerous on the road, not the safest. Those researchers believed that silver vehicles were about 10 percent more likely to be involved in an accident than white cars.

Why Are White or Silver Cars Safer Than Others?

Visibility. White and silver cars don’t typically blend into the background or landscape. They stand out. They shine when the sun hits the metal. When a vehicle is easier to see, it’s less likely to be involved in an accident. If other motorists on the road can see your vehicle, there’s a much lower risk of them hitting you.

Black Cars Are Associated With a 47 Percent Higher Risk of a Crash

Black cars are sleek. They’re clearly favored by Americans – they account for nearly a quarter of all car purchases. However, research suggests that black cars are the most dangerous color choice. One study found that driving a black car is associated with a 47 percent increase in crash risk. 

Other studies, including those mentioned above, also determined that black cars are involved in accidents more than others. However, those studies suggest that you’re 10 or 20 percent more likely to be injured or killed in an accident while driving a black car.

Why Are Black Cars The Most Dangerous?

Again, it comes down to visibility. It’s important to note that black cars were significantly more likely to be in an accident at night. When the sun goes down, black cars can become incredibly difficult to see. Black vehicles blend into the darkness around them. Things can get even more dangerous when the weather is bad.

A Breakdown of Other Colors and Crash Risk

Silver, white, and black cars make up a majority of the vehicles on the road. Black and white vehicles, alone, account for about half of all sales every year. However, not everyone opts for one of these three colors. There are a lot of other color cars on the road. Here’s how they rank in terms of relative crash risk – from low to high.

Yellow Cars

There’s a reason that school buses are bright yellow – they’re easy to spot. That’s probably why at least one study found that yellow – not white – was the safest color choice.

Orange Cars

Like yellow, orange is highly visible and usually easy to see. Since there’s not much for an orange car to blend into, these vehicles are typically among the safest choices.

Green Cars

Green is a controversial color. Some studies found that green cars – along with brown vehicles – have an increased crash risk. Others, however, determined that the risk of getting into an accident, when compared with white cars, isn’t statistically significant.

Why might green be a dangerous choice? Green vehicles can blend into the landscape, especially in rural areas that are dominated by grass and fields.

Red Cars

You might have thought that red cars would be among the safest color choices. However, red cars can be hard to see at certain times of the day and in urban settings. That might be why one study found that red vehicles, when compared to white cars, are 7 percent more likely to be involved in a crash.

Blue Cars

Now, it’s important to consider to keep in mind that there are a lot of different shades of blue. Most are dark, which is probably why blue vehicles are considered to be on the more dangerous side of things. Like red cars, vehicles painted blue are about 7 percent more likely to be involved in a crash.

Grey Cars

Grey vehicles are associated with an increased crash risk. When compared to white vehicles, grey cars are 11 percent more likely to be involved in a traffic accident. Grey vehicles can be tough to see, especially at night, if it’s foggy out, and when the weather is bad. 

You Car’s Color Can Influence Crash Risk, But So Can Other Things

Keep in mind that while the color of your car might decrease or increase the risk of getting into an accident, it’s not the only thing that matters. There are other factors that likely have a much greater impact. Accidents are more likely to happen when:

  • Drivers are distracted by phones, technology, passengers, or food.
  • Drivers are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Drivers are fatigued or ill.
  • Drivers engage in aggressive behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding, making unsafe lane changes, or following too closely (tailgating).
  • Roads lack dedicated bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, forcing those individuals to share the road with vehicles.
  • Roads are in disrepair and create a hazardous situation for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
  • Cars are not properly maintained.
  • Bad weather (e.g., rain, snow, ice, sleet, fog) limits visibility.

If you have a black car, you don’t need to trade it in. Engage in safe driving behaviors, follow state and local traffic laws, and stay off of your phone while you’re behind the wheel. These simple steps will significantly reduce the likelihood that you’ll get into an accident. If you are in an accident, you can always opt to go in a different color direction when you get a replacement vehicle.

Injured in a Crash? Our NYC Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in NYC, you might be entitled to compensation. It doesn’t matter what color car you were driving. At Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C., our experienced NYC personal injury lawyers can help you fight to hold all negligent parties accountable and maximize your financial recovery. Give our NYC law offices a call to schedule a free consultation and learn more today.