How a Car’s Color May Affect the Risk of an Accident


Today’s automobiles come equipped with multiple state-of-the-art safety features, such as airbags, blind spot monitors and lane-keeping assistance systems. But there are more basic attributes that can affect a vehicle’s risk of getting into an accident. One of these is the exterior color. Several studies show that cars of certain colors tend to be involved in fewer crashes while cars of other hues are more accident-prone.

Generally, dark-colored cars are the most dangerous. Researchers conclude that these cars are harder to see, especially at night. Whenever you venture out on the road, whether across town or across the country, watch for vehicles of these colors:

  • Black — Several studies have found black vehicles to be involved in the most accidents. Driving a black car increases crash risk by anywhere from 10 to 20 percent. One study even concluded you are 47 percent more likely to be in a crash if you drive a black car.
  • Silver or Gray — These colors, two of the most popular on new vehicles, are correlated with a 10 to 11 percent higher crash risk. Visibility seems to be the reason, as these cars tend to blend in with all the other similarly colored cars on the road.
  • Blue — Blue corresponds to a 7 percent increased crash risk. Not surprisingly, the darker the blue, the more likely the vehicle is to be in crash.

By contrast, brightly colored cars are involved in fewer accidents, most likely because they are more visible to other drivers, particularly in bad weather or at night. These are the safest color choices:

  • White or Yellow — Depending on which study you read, white or yellow takes the top safety spot. White contrasts with the environment, plus there are not many traffic elements that use white. Yellow makes objects look larger and thus more visible.
  • Orange — This vibrant color tends to stand out in traffic. And because it is not a popular car color, when an orange car is in your vicinity, you notice it.

Red, on the other hand, is a color that defies the darkness/brightness divide. It is one of the most visible colors out there, yet red cars are 7 percent more likely to be in a crash than lighter-colored cars. Researchers believe this is because many other elements related to driving are red: brake lights, traffic lights, stop signs and some emergency vehicles. The prevalence of red causes people to overlook a red car.

Although color may be a factor in an auto accident, it’s the person behind the wheel that matters most. The risk increases greatly, no matter the car’s color, if the driver is distracted, impaired or driving recklessly.  

If you were injured in an auto accident in Passaic, Bergen, Essex or Hudson County, reach out to Seigel Law in Ridgewood. Our experienced attorneys offer a free initial consultation so you can learn about your options at no cost. Call 201-444-4000 or contact us online.

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