Can your car colour kill?

7 October 2020

 

Have you ever used colours to describe feelings, like “green with envy” or “feeling blue”?

If you have, you’re probably aware that we emotionally identify with the hues and tones around us.

This includes the colour of your car, which ideally should be your favourite. Or the trendiest colour this season. Or a royal colour. Or whatever you want, really. And yet, you always want to put safety first – but can the colour of your car affect its safety?

It’s a pretty solid question, considering that colour is directly related to visibility, a key factor in road safety. For example:

  • Road signs use colours that contrast strongly so that they are easy to see, even in rain or dark.
  • Cyclists wear bright colours to make sure drivers see them on the road.
  • Traffic lights indicate whether to stop, pause, or go.
  • Different lines on the road show where you can overtake or pull over.

If visibility is the key factor in driving safety, does this mean dark coloured cars are more dangerous to drive? As it turns out, they are – but that’s not the only factor.

Citing a 2007 study published by Monash University Accident Research Centre, Autolist emphasises that “the relationship between vehicle colour and vehicle safety is complex and uncertain.”

The study revealed which colours are statistically the safest choice when it came to being visible and safe on the road, and which are the worst. Want to find out where your car ranks? Read on!

Safest shades

When it comes to reduced risk of crashes, the study found, white is the winner – so it’s not surprising that around 45% of cars sold in South Africa in 2018 were white. Other highly ranked colours highly include cream, yellow, and beige.

Killer tones

Unsurprisingly, black is the most likely car colour to be involved in an accident. Readers Digest graded other colours in order of “dangerousness”:

  • Grey (11% higher risk)
  • Silver (10% higher risk)
  • Blue (7% higher risk)
  • Red (7% higher risk)

It’s not all about colour

Dr Stuart Newstead, Associate Professor of Monash University Accident Research Centre, stressed that there are other influencing factors besides colour that play a role in the risk you run of getting into a car accident.

He listed the safety measures everyone in the car takes, and safety features like Electronic Stability Control. These are, in fact, even more influential in improving safety than the colour of your car.

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