The Link Between Auto Collisions and Car Color

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Will the Paint Color of My Car Affect My Chances of Getting Hit?

If you’ve ever wondered about how the color of your car affects your chances of having an accident, you’re not alone. One of the most popular questions vehicle owners have about car color pertains to the safety of their vehicle based on its paint color. There is also a lot of hearsay about car color and how it affects various things like your chances of getting pulled over or your insurance costs increasing – we’ll dive into those questions as well. However, there are, in fact, studies that show the correlation between vehicle color and accidents.

Vehicle Color Increases Your Chances of Being Involved in a Collision

According to various research, including a study done by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), the popular belief that certain cars are more visible than others based on their color, is true. The study analyzed data from car crashes between 1987 and 2004, finding that car color did affect the likelihood of being involved in an accident. Head researcher, Dr. Stuart Newstead, said their study was one of the most comprehensive studies done to date. The findings showed that lighter colored vehicles had the lowest crash risk. In contrast, darker colors, or colors that easily blend into the surrounding environment, had a higher risk of being hit.

Safest Car Colors

Brighter colored cars that stand out from their surroundings are easier to see and do not get hit as often. Various studies, including the one done by MUARC, found that white cars are about 12 percent less likely to be hit, with yellow, cream, and beige colored vehicles following closely behind. The reason is that these colors stand out the most, no matter what the weather or sunlight conditions may be. With the exception of snow, white cars have the highest contrast in any weather and are most visible day or night.

Car Colors At a Higher Risk of Being in an Accident

With white being one of the safest colors, it should be no surprise that the most unsafe color is black. During the day, black cars are about 12 percent more likely to be hit than lighter colored vehicles. At night, or in other limited visibility conditions, the risk increases to 47 percent. Grey and silver cars come in second as having a higher risk of being involved in an accident because of their limited contrast with the surrounding environment. Darker green, blue, and red cars also pose a risk. Though their percentage is not as high as black or grey, red, green, and blue cars still blend in with the environment more than white and yellow.

Myths Surrounding Car Color

Have you ever considered buying a new car only to have a friend or family member tell you to avoid bright colors like red or yellow because you will be more likely to get pulled over? Or maybe you’ve been told to go with a neutral color because it won’t affect your car insurance? These are two very common beliefs that many vehicle owners ponder over, but there is actually no evidence to support these claims.

Does Car Color Affect Insurance Rates?

The simple answer – no, it does not. While studies have shown the paint color of a vehicle to affect other things, there is no correlation between car color and insurance rates. Most insurance companies will initially ask for the color of your car when you are first signing up, but that is just to obtain the general make, model, and description of your vehicle for their records. Beyond that, your agent does not care what color your car is, and they will not charge you more just because you have a bright red Camaro or a canary yellow VW bug.

So, how did this myth originate? Often, when you hear people talk about cars having higher insurance rates, it is in relation to the color red. With red being one of the colors listed as being more likely to get hit, this could potentially be how the rumor got started. While having a red car will not make your insurance company charge you more, your rates will increase if you get into a lot of accidents. So, if you are getting hit more because of the color of your car, and your insurance rates go up, it could make it seem like the color of your vehicle is why you are getting charged more.

Will I Get Pulled Over More If I Have a Brightly Colored Car?

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Once again, the simple answer is, no. There is no research to prove that brightly colored cars get pulled over more often. Most police officers use scanners that detect car speeds, so it is not likely that they would randomly decide to pull over a bright red car over a silver car if they both are speeding.

How did this rumor get started? The likely answer is that it comes from people who themselves own a brightly colored car and feel as though they are getting pulled over frequently. However, they are potentially getting pulled over because of their driving habits, and not merely because they drive a colorful car. The other possibility is that high-end sports car owners tend to buy their cars in bright colors, and they also tend to test the abilities of their vehicles by driving over the speed limit. While this is a generalized statement and is, of course, not true of all sports car owners, this could be where the correlation is coming from.

What Other Things Can Vehicle Color Affect?

Aside from having an impact on the risk of collisions, the color of a car can affect the following as well:

  • Ultraviolet radiation: White or other light-colored cars reflect about 60 percent of UV rays from the sun, while black cars absorb it. Though this isn’t a significant issue, it could be something to consider if you get warm easily and don’t want a vehicle that will be harder to cool during hot summer months.
  • Resale value: Car colors such as white, black, and silver have a higher resale value than vehicles with colorful paint jobs. Neutral colored cars are more popular and are easier to sell.
  • Theft: According to data collected from 2004 to 2008, silver, grey, and blue cars were stolen more often than other car colors. The reasoning behind this is related to the resale value. Car thieves tend to steal vehicles that they think will be easier to sell for more money. As silver, grey, and blue are among the most popular colors chosen for cars, they are considered to have high resale value and will thus be more of a target.

Need to Have Your Car Painted?

If you’ve been in a collision and need to have your car paint touched up, Speed’s Auto Body has got you covered. The automotive specialists at Speed’s are trained to handle a variety of paint application techniques. With our experience and technology, we can give you the exact high-quality factory finish you want and need. For all of your car painting needs, contact Speed’s Auto Body in Portland today!