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What color is safest on cars?


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Answered 2010-09-19 22:14:52

The rationale behind the results of studies is that silver is a color that does not occur often in nature, and at close range thus elicits the surprise and close attention of the onlooker's lower or primordial brain faculties as well as the more conscious visual cortex.

As an added benefit silver cars look the cleanest when neglected, thus some owners rarely if ever see the need to wash their silver cars.

However in frequent rain or snow or at a distance, red or orange may be more visible. However, at this long range where police are often monitoring traffic, it is surmised that these flashy colors attract greater attention and thus a greater number of speeding tickets than more subdued colors.

I drive a fairly nasty section of freeway on a daily basis and going by observations only, I would say white. Police cruisers are (for the most part) white and other drivers tend to be on the lookout for that color. Safety also goes hand in hand with your own driving skills and common sense. If it is raining, snowing or near sunset, you should have your lights completely on, not just your running lights. Don't run next to a semi and don't be afraid to give the accelerator a little gas if you have your cruise control on and your speed virtually matches the semi next to you. Remember that the larger the vehicle, the longer its stopping time is. If you pass a truck or semi, don't cut in front of the vehicle and then slam on your brakes to make that exit or that turn. The result could be a rear end collision.

If someone is riding your bumper, move over and let them go. There's no point in designating yourself the highway pace car. All you get for your eforts is an irate driver who may end up doing something stupid.

Another benefit of a white car/truck/van/SUV is that they tend to remain cooler on hot days. They also tend to look clean even when they have not been washed in a while.

I've been reading up on the safest color for a car. Every website shows that silver is by-far the safest color, according to a study done in New Zealand. Which, as a matter of fact, was conducted from statistics from the 90s. I would have to disagree with these findings. How do these statistics relate to the U.S. and why are they coming from decade-old facts? I have been driving an '02 silver blue VW Passat in West Central Florida for the past four years and have been involved in one serious crash and multiple close-calls that occur daily. My personal experiences may not reflect those of others due to weather occurences and geographical and statistical information; however, every time I step into my silver blue (closer to silver than blue) car I pray that there won't be any close calls or moron drivers who could care less about others on the road and more about making good time.

A couple other statements to ponder: "Silver is the most camoflauged color in a downpour." "It also blends into the asphalt." "Silver is one of the most unoriginal colors out there." "Don't you hate being blinded by a ray of sunshine reflected off of a silver car!?!"


I read somewhere that two-tone or multi-tone colored vehicles might be safer than monotone vehicles. I think this idea might include decals that are large and contrasting. In some areas, police cars have doors that are of a different color than the rest of the body, such as the black and white squad cars in Los Angeles. I wonder if this was done for visibility, or just for identification, or both. I also wonder if part of the reason why those cars are so noticable is psychological, having to do with one's sudden awareness that traffic enforcement officers might possibly be watching our driving. Sometimes, I see a car that has the different colored doors, and I check my speedometer; then I realize that it's just an old car with a door replacement that doesn't match. Even if it is psychological, I think the contrasting colors creates increased visibility. If that is true, then the color of the car might not matter as much as any vividly contrasting colors. One area of contrast is on most vehicles regardless of color; the difference in wheel color and windows. This might not be the case for a car that is black, with black wheels and tires, and darkly tinted windows. Is seems logical to me that a white car would be a safe color, because white reflects the full visual spectrum. But then, so does black when it's clean, like a mirror reflecting the colors and shapes of the objects in its environment. At night, white seems to have a clear advantage. However, at night, drivers are looking for lights on a car first. This might be why daytime running lights are popular on Subarus, which are cars that are well know to be designed for safety. To end on an encouraging note, I want to throw out the idea once again that contrasting colors might be a significant visual safety aspect of a car, which is something that can be easily accomplished on any vehicle with a little creativity.

Well put Jared- in nature the wild contrasts on the faces and bodies of wasps and poisonous insects, and all those that mimic them, seems to do the trick. I affixed some USCG-approved maritime reflective decal tape in hash marks on the corner of each bumper to make my silver car jump out in the dark, also these appear black during the daytime. (you normally see this reflective surface on police cars and ambulances). I can feel the attention of other drivers taking note when I pull into their field of view. This may be a ludic fallacy but I doubt that there is any harm in it.



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