Which car colour is the safest?

Posted by: Cal on 19/02/2014

Category: General

Ensuring your car tyres are in good nick is an aspect of driving safety that most Australian vehicle owners are aware of. On top of that, the safety features of a car often take first place on a buyer's checklist when looking for a new car, whether brand new or used.

Things like airbags, anti-lock braking systems, great quality tyres and seatbelts are all obvious safety features in a vehicle. But what about its paint job?

You might think the colour of your car is just a fashion statement - perhaps you like to make an impact and opt for red, or go for an elegant and classy black each time.

But according to a study conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre, the colour of your car could make a difference in your likelihood of getting into a crash on the roads. 

The study focused on crashes in Victoria and West Australia during the period of 1987-2004 and assessed each crash's likelihood to be influenced by the colour of the car, while taking into account other factors such as vehicle make and time of day.

Researchers also chose to compare each colour to a "reference colour" car, which was picked to be white.

According to the findings, among the least safe car colours were black, grey, silver and blue - all colours which are generally less visible than bright or light coloured cars.

Black was found to be the most significant colour at risk of accident in comparison to white cars. They were 12 per cent more likely to be involved in a crash than white cars during daylight hours. Interestingly, this figure rose to 47 per cent more crash risk than white cars during dawn and dusk.

Following black, silver and grey were also found to be more at risk of crashing than other colours. During daylight, silver had a crash risk 10 per cent higher than white and grey had a risk 11 per cent higher. During the hours of dusk and dawn, these figures rose to 15 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.

Other colours tested included maroon, orange, pink and purple, which all showed less risk than the above colours. However, according to the study, "no colour was statistically significantly safer than white".

While this data may be scary, eliminating black from your choice of car colour is not necessarily a magic cure for crash risk, nor is owning a black or silver car a death sentence! There are other ways to keep safe when driving, including paying attention to driving in certain weather conditions, and ensuring your car tyres are in good condition and changed regularly.