Can Car Color Affect the Risk of a Crash or Serious Injury?

Posted: May 17, 2023

Because colors travel at various wavelengths, some are easier to see, research shows. This may be true of car colors, too.  


According to some sources, in fact, your car’s color could potentially figure into how likely it is to be:  

  1. in an accident; or 
  2. resell for the desired amount. 

Cars of a certain color may be harder to see and therefore more likely to be in an accident, according to a study performed by researchers at Monash University in Australia. The study, “An Investigation into the Relationship between Vehicle Colour and Crash Risk,” used accident data to assess whether there is a connection between vehicle color and crash risk.  


Researchers found that white vehicles were least likely to be in an accident and black vehicles were 12 percent more likely than white cars to be involved in a crash. 


Colors “lower on the visibility index” (black, blue, grey, green, red, silver) had a higher crash risk, according to the study. Researchers found “statistically significant results.” In daylight:  

  • gray cars were an 11 percent higher crash risk than white cars; 
  • silver were 10 percent higher;  
  • blue were 7 percent; and  
  • red were 7 percent.

This research supports the idea that lighter and brighter colors may be more visible to other motorists, reducing the risk of a crash. Notably, car color had less effect on crash risk during twilight and night driving, when headlights and rear lights are more apparent, according to the study.


What about the risk of car crash injury? According to research conducted in New Zealand, there was a “significant reduction” in the risk of serious injury in silver cars compared with white cars.  Research also found that there was a “significant increased risk” of serious injury in brown vehicles, with increased risk for black and green cars as well.  


This research is fascinating and worthy of examination, but some industry leaders maintain that car color is not, in and of itself, a safety feature. No matter the color of your car (or the color of cars around you), all motorists must use reasonable care to see what is there to be seen. Safe driving behavior, in full compliance with the rules of the road, is paramount.  


What Are the More Popular Car Colors?

According to the 2021 Axalta Global Automotive Popularity Report, the three most popular car colors in the world are

  1. white, whose two main varieties, solid and pearl, account for 35 percent of all cars on the road;  
  2. black (19 percent); and 
  3. gray (19 percent). 

According to Axalta’s report, gray is gaining in popularity worldwide, with an increase of four percentage points.  


The popularity of white cars, SUVs, and trucks, on the other hand, has diminished since peaking at 39 percent in 2017.  

How Could Color Affect Resale Value?  

After comparing the prices of more than 650,000 recently sold three-year-old used cars, the author of an article published on determined the average three-year vehicle depreciation rate by car color. Brown, with a depreciation rate of 17.8 percent, lost its value fastest, while yellow — yes, yellow — depreciated least, at 4.5% percent   

Right behind yellow was orange. Then came purple, red, green, and blue.  

White, black, gray, and silver,  popular new-car colors, depreciate at a rate close to average, suggesting an odd truth of car-color preference, according to the author: People buy them not because they like them but because they assume others do – and will want to buy them when they’re up for resale.  

Important Safety Factors to Consider 

While there are certainly studies which suggest that car color may affect your odds of being in an accident or sustaining injury, driving habits remain the primary factor affecting accident and injury risk. All motorists—regardless of the color of their car, or the color of other cars on the road—must practice safe driving to reduce the risk of an accident. 

Factors that can increase the risk of an accident and serious injury include: 

  • Distracted driving: Distracted driving includes any activity that can take the driver’s attention off the road. Drivers can be distracted by cell phones, other passengers, or trying to eat. According to the NHTSA, in 2021 alone, an estimated 3,522 people were killed in traffic crashes involving distracted drivers. 
  • Driving under the influence: Drunk driving is the number one cause of death on our roadways These car accidents may involve alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), 32 people die every day in the U.S. because of a drunk-driving car crash. 
  • Road conditions: Poor road conditions are more than just frustrating; they can be extremely dangerous. Winter can also seriously affect roadways, leaving behind potholes and other obstacles that create driving hazards. When a road is not constructed or maintained properly, it can cause motor vehicle accidents and injuries. 
  • Weather conditions: Inclement weather can make driving more hazardous. Motorists who do not adjust for weather conditions can endanger others on the road.  
  • Aggressive driving: Aggressive drivers put themselves and others on the road at risk of serious car accident injuries. Examples of aggressive driving include tailgating, failure to yield, running red lights and stop signs, speeding, and weaving.  

Hurt in a Car? Call William Mattar. 

We have more than two decades of experience helping car crash injury victims throughout New York State. If you have been injured because of one of the common causes of car accidents, contact the car accident attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. today. Call 844-444-4444 or complete a free initial consultation form now. 

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