Car Color & Crash Risk

There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying or leasing a new car. Which vehicles have the best safety and crash ratings? Which cars have the best consumer reviews?

These questions are probably at the top of your list when you’re narrowing down a list of possible options. One thing that you might not be overly concerned with is the color of your new car.

Sure, you might have a preference, based solely on superficial or aesthetic pleasure, but it’s probably not a feature that will make or break your decision.

Should it be, though? Quite possibly. Some studies suggest that there’s a relationship between the color of a vehicle and the likelihood that it will be involved in a car accident at some point in time.

Black Cars Are the Most Dangerous Color Choice

Car colors

There have been a few studies that have attempted to determine if there’s a link between car color and crash risk.

While the majority of the results of those studies have varied, all of them have come to the same conclusion: black cars are the most dangerous.

How much more dangerous are black cars than other colors? It depends on the study and it depends on the time of day. However, research indicates:

  • Black cars are between 10 and 20 percent more likely to be in an accident than other color cars.
  • You’re 47 percent more likely to be in an accident while driving a black vehicle at night.

The rate of accidents involving black cars surges at night. This is likely due to the fact that black cars can be really difficult to see against the dark night sky. They blend into the backdrop and landscape more than vehicles of different colors. If other motorists have a difficult time seeing your black car, accidents are much more likely to occur.

Researchers Divided Over the Safest Color Option

Researchers were all pretty much on the same page when it came to the most dangerous color choice. The same cannot be said for the safest option. Across various studies, three different colors have each earned this top honor.

White is Generally Accepted as the Safest Color

While all researchers do not agree, most do accept that white cars are associated with the lowest crash risk. When compared to black cars, one study found that white vehicles are about 12 percent less likely to be involved in an accident. This was true at any time of the day, not just at night.

Some experts who aren’t on board with this finding argue that white isn’t the safest color because there are so many white cars on the road. In fact, white vehicles account for about one-third of all new car purchases. In turn, this can decrease visibility and increase the risk of a crash.

Yellow is Also Considered To Be Very Safe

Researchers in one study determined that yellow vehicles are the safest choice of color. The rationale for this was that yellow is vibrant and doesn’t blend in. There’s not much in an urban or rural setting that will make a yellow car tough to see. This might be why school buses are always bright yellow – in an effort to make vehicles that carry children as easy to see as possible.

Silver Cars Are a Source of Debate

Silver vehicles are incredibly popular. Researchers are divided over whether this is a good thing or not. One study concluded that silver cars are the safest color choice, with about half the risk of being in a serious accident than other cars.

However, another study found that silver cars are associated with an increased crash risk – of about 10 percent – when compared to white vehicles.

The discrepancy might boil down to location. Silver cars might be easy to spot in rural areas, but more challenging to distinguish in a city like Philadelphia that’s a concrete jungle.

Dark Cars Associated With Higher Crash Risks

Not every car on the road is black, white, yellow, or silver. How do other color cars stack up, in terms of crash risk? Research consistently shows that dark colored cars have a higher crash risk. Here’s a breakdown of dark vehicles, excluding black cars, from most dangerous to safest.

Grey Cars: Grey cars are roughly 11 percent more likely to get into an accident than white cars. Grey cars tend to be dark and, in turn, can be difficult to see. These vehicles tend to blend into the background, especially in cities that have a lot of concrete structures.

Blue Cars: Blue cars are associated with a crash risk that’s 7 percent higher than white cars. Why? Blue isn’t always a color that’s highly visible. These vehicles can easily blend into the daytime sky, making it tough for other motorists to see.

Red Cars: Red cars don’t always stand out. On a crowded roadway, these vehicles might get lost among traffic signals, street signs, brake lights, and emergency vehicle lights. That might be why red cars are associated with a 7 percent higher crash risk than other colors.

Green Cars: Green is not the most popular choice of color for new cars. However, when compared to other dark-colored vehicles, green cars are involved in the fewest number of accidents. Crash risk might vary, depending on where a car is driven. Accidents might be more likely in rural settings where the roads are nestled between stretches of farmland and grass for as far as the eye can see. Accidents might be less likely in cities where there’s very little green space.

Shiny, Bright Cars Tend to Have a Relatively Low Crash Risk

Statistically speaking, dark vehicles are more likely to be involved in an accident than other colors. Why? Visibility. Cars that are bright and shiny stand out. These vehicles tend to pop against the landscape and don’t get lost in the shuffle. In addition to white, yellow, and silver, the following color cars are associated with a lower crash risk (when compared to the most dangerous color, black):

  • Pink
  • Orange
  • Gold, and
  • Cream.

These colors might not be the most popular choice for new car buyers. However, maybe they should be. These vehicles are easy to spot on the road, which can help to decrease the risk of a collision.

Safe Driving Habits Are Still the Most Important Factor

You’re not automatically going to get into an accident because you drive a black car. At the same time, you’re not going to guarantee that you’ll avoid a crash because your car is white, yellow, or silver. There are other factors that, in reality, have a much bigger impact on crash risk.

Car accidents tend to happen when drivers are negligent. Negligence can manifest in many different shapes and forms. Types of driver negligence that tend to cause accidents in Philadelphia include:

Distracted Driving: A distraction is anything that diverts your attention from driving your car. Any distraction can increase the likelihood of an accident. Some distractions are more dangerous than others. When you text and drive, for example, an accident is about 23 times more likely. Just dialing a cell phone increases the risk of an accident by about 3 percent.

Drunk Driving: Consuming any drugs or alcohol before driving is associated with increased crash risk. Generally speaking, you’re about twice as likely to be in an accident if you’re impaired.

Aggressive Driving: Philadelphia and Pennsylvania have speed limits for a reason. Studies have shown that crash risk drops by 2 to 3 percent for every 1 km/h decrease in speed.

Fatigued Driving: When you’re tired behind the wheel, the risk of an accident can increase from anywhere between 11 and 65 percent.

An Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help If You’ve Been Hurt

Can the color of a car influence the risk of getting into an accident? Maybe. However, you probably won’t be able to recover compensation from someone just because they were driving a black car. You’ll have to be able to prove that their negligence caused you to get hurt. This is where it can really help to turn to a Philadelphia personal injury attorney with experience handling car accident cases.

At Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers, our team has more than 80 years of combined experience representing injury victims across the city. If you’ve been in an accident, we’ll roll up our sleeves as we investigate your case, gather evidence, establish causation and fault, and ultimately pursue damages on your behalf. Want to learn more? Contact us or call today (215) 875-7030 to arrange a free, no-obligation case assessment.