Which color cars have the most accidents?
Believe it or not, the choice of color when buying a new car can have an effect on your chances of being involved in a crash or accident.
According to recent estimates, there are close to 284 million vehicles on the roads in the United States and while fatality numbers from accidents involving cars had been trending down, there was a spike last year - 20,160 people died in motor vehicle accidents in the first half of 2021 alone, an 18.4% increase on the previous year’s figures.
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Fortunately, the majority of car accidents don’t result in death or serious injury (which stands at around six per cent). In 2019, there were approximately 6.8 million vehicle crashes in the United States - around 1.9 million of which resulted in a personal injury while five million vehicle crashes, just over 70 per cent, involved damage to property alone.
There are hundreds of factors that can contribute to someone crashing their car, human error or mechanical, speeding, alcohol and drug use, poor signage, taking unnecessary risks or being distracted, the most common. But the color of your car could increase or decrease your chances of being involved in a traffic accident - cars painted with certain colors appear to be more prone than others. Numerous surveys have been conducted to determine the relationship between car colors and accidents.
The MUARC study
Research into road safety conducted by Monash University in June 2007, using on-road crash data collected between 1987 and 2004 in Victoria and Western Australia, showed that black cars are more likely to be involved in accidents than cars painted other colors. The simple reason being is visibility - black cars are much more difficult to see, especially at night. The study claimed that driving a black car would increase your chances of being involved in an accident by 12% compared to driving a white car. As for other colors, driving a grey car carries an 11% risk of an accident, silver cars are just behind on 10%, blue and red cars have a 7% risk while white cars are the safest to drive along with orange, yellow and gold.
Senior Research Fellow at MUARC, Dr Stuart Newstead, said the Australian study was arguably the most comprehensive to investigate the link between vehicle color and crash risk. "Previous international studies have examined vehicle visibility and color but have not fully taken into account other factors that may have an impact on crash risk, such as driver demographics,” he said. “Darker colors and colors with low contrast to the road environment, including silver, grey, green, red, blue and black, tend to be associated with a higher crash risk, particularly in daylight hours. Car color was found to be less influential on crash risk in darker driving conditions most likely because color is harder to differentiate. The use of car headlights also negates the effect of car color in dark conditions to a large degree. Driving a darker colored car can increase your crash risk, but that is nowhere near as influential a factor as your driving behaviour”.