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Do grey cars have more accidents?

Car Color & Crash Risk

Car Color & Crash Risk

Baltimore Maryland Lawyer

Research shows that a car’s color is associated with its crash risk. That means driving a car of a certain color may actually put you at a higher risk of a crash! Our Baltimore car accident lawyer at William G. Kolodner Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help you, you can contact our Baltimore law office by calling us at (410) 837-2144.

When buying or leasing a new car, you probably put a lot of thought into the safety rating, features, gas mileage, price, and style. One thing you may not give much thought to beyond the aesthetic is the color of the car you choose. According to several studies, that may be a mistake.

77% of cars in North America are either white, black, silver, or grey but these cars have very different levels of risk based on color alone.

Table of Contents

Most Dangerous Car Colors

Most Dangerous Car Colors

You may have heard that red cars are more likely to get pulled over, but did you know that some car colors are more likely to be involved in an accident? The following car colors have a higher crash risk.

Black Cars

In a few studies, black cars have been singled out as having the highest accident rate than cars of any other color.

A 20-year study by Monash University in Australia found that black cars are up to 47% more likely to be involved in a crash. During the daytime, black cars were just 12% more likely to be involved in an accident than white vehicles but the number rose to 47% at dusk and dawn.

NRMA Insurance, meanwhile, reported in 2004 that dark-colored cars were 22% more likely to be involved in crashes and claims paid out for accidents involving dark cars were 30% more expensive than the average claim. That means the accidents were probably more serious.

The reason? Black vehicles don’t stand out very well against black roadways. At night, they’re even harder for other drivers to see.

Grey Cars

While grey cars aren’t considered as dangerous as black cars, they still have a noticeably higher risk than other car colors. When you drive a grey car, you have an 11 percent higher risk of being involved in an accident no matter the time of day.

Grey cars have a higher crash risk for the same reason as black cars: they blend into their surroundings. Grey cars are also harder to see when it’s foggy or raining.

Silver Cars

Silver cars, along with grey, black, and white, dominate the market in the United States. Similar to grey cars, silver cars have a crash rate about 10% higher than other car colors because they blend into surroundings and can be hard to see in rain and fog.

However, some research does indicate silver cars may actually be safer, not more dangerous. One study found the risk of serious injury is about 50% lower in silver cars compared with white cars.

Green Cars

Green vehicles aren’t very common today as they have fallen out of favor but green was one of the most popular car colors in the 1990s. Today, green is less popular than neutral colors, blue, red, and even brown: just 1.3% of cars sold at CarMax in one recent year were green.

Green cars aren’t very popular but they also aren’t very safe. Green tends to blend into the background of suburban and rural settings with a slightly higher crash risk than white and yellow cars. However, it does stand out in city settings which may be why it’s not as high on the list of dangerous colors as black and grey.

Safest Car Color Choices

Safest Car Color Choices

Want to reduce the risk of being hit in a collision? Choosing the right car color when you buy or lease may help, at least somewhat. As a general rule, the safest colors are those that are easy for other drivers to see with good contrast against the road and buildings.

White Cars

Overwhelmingly, white is considered the safest car color with the lowest risk of being struck. According to one study, white cars are 12% less likely to be in a crash than black cars, even during the day.

It may seem counterintuitive that white cars stand out so well to other drivers — after all, white is the most popular car color in the U.S. and should blend in with other cars — but it seems to offer the most contrast during the day and night.

Yellow Cars

Yellow, like white, tends to be easy to notice on the road. It helps that yellow is the color of school buses which means drivers may psychologically associate the color yellow with caution. Yellow cars are less likely than most other colors to get into accidents.

Red Cars

There are many myths about red cars including that they get more speeding tickets or they’re just for drivers who want attention. The truth? The color red may reduce your risk of being hit by another driver on the road.

Red cars aren’t considered the safest as they have a higher crash risk than white and yellow cars. However, red vehicles are less likely to be hit than grey and black cars. Studies show that there’s not much of a difference between the crash risk of red and blue vehicles.

A red car may lower the risk of a crash because the color is associated with danger, stop signs, and emergency vehicles.

Orange Cars

You don’t see too many orange vehicles on dealership lots but maybe you should. While many people avoid the color orange in part because of the perceived lower resale value of an orange car, orange cars tend to get into fewer accidents than other colors even after accounting for their low market share.

The visibility and bright color of orange vehicles likely play a role in avoiding accidents.

Good luck finding an orange car on the lot without a special order from the dealer, though! Orange cars made up just 0.5% of cars sold at CarMax in 2019.

Don’t Consider Car Color a Safety Feature

The color of your car may influence crash risk to a degree. However, it’s not necessary to choose or avoid certain colors just in the name of safety. Even the researchers who documented the relationship between car color and crash risk warn that it’s nowhere near as important as driving behavior. The most important thing you can do to be safe on the road is practice defensive driving techniques.

Many factors can contribute to car accidents in Baltimore including:

  • Distracted driving such as texting, talking on the phone, or eating while driving which is a factor in 9% of fatal crashes.
  • Speeding is a factor in 26% of traffic fatalities. When you are speeding or driving too fast for road conditions, your reaction time is reduced. Speeding also makes it easier to lose control of your vehicle and increases the severity of injuries in an accident.
  • Driving under the influence. Drunk driving alone kills over 10,000 people in the United States every year.
  • Inclement weather. In Maryland, rain, snow, and fog can all make roads dangerous and impair vision. Rain is the most dangerous type of inclement weather because it also makes roads slick with oil.
  • Traffic which can contribute to everything from fender benders to serious pile-ups.
  • Fatigued driving. Research indicates that drowsy driving can be more dangerous than driving under the influence. About 100,000 accidents and 44,000 injuries every year involve drowsy driving.

Your car’s color doesn’t mean you’ll avoid an accident, but it can reduce the likelihood that you’ll be hit by another driver when you’re driving safely.

Headlights were able to almost erase the link between a car’s color and crash risk. Daytime running lights mean that the benefit you would get from a noticeable car color like yellow is even lower.

Daytime running lights or your headlights are recommended whenever you’re driving, regardless of weather or time of day. Studies show that daytime running lights reduce the risk of multi-vehicle accidents during the day by 5-10%.

During inclement daytime weather conditions, including rain and fog, headlights or daytime running lights are even more crucial for reducing your crash risk by making sure your car is easy to see for other drivers. Some states such as Ohio even require headlights to be turned on whenever a driver uses their wipers.

Contact Our Car Crash Lawyers in Baltimore to Learn More About Car Color and Crash Risk

The bottom line is car color is only one of many factors that may cause an accident. If you have been involved in a car accident in Maryland, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to begin investigating your crash.

At William G. Kolodner Personal Injury Lawyers, we will leave no stone unturned to uncover the many factors that influenced your accident to determine who is at fault and seek full compensation for your injuries. After identifying the responsible parties, we will fight for the compensation you need as you recover and try to move on with your life.

Contact William G. Kolodner Personal Injury Lawyers today; your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer is always free.

Baltimore Car Accident Resources

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Does Having a Certain Color Car Make It An Accident Magnet?

Few if any car buyers take safety into consideration when choosing which color they want on their new car. But maybe they should because it turns out some colors have a lower safety rating and thus have a direct effect on your chances of being involved in a traffic accident; and this is backed by actual studies on the matter, not opinions.

Renault Twingo

Photo: Renault

Fiat 500Opel AdamOpel AdamRenault TwingoRenault Twingo

Reader’s Digest says silver is probably the most popular finish around the world, followed by white and blue, but only one of these three is likely to improve a car’s chances of not being involved in an accident. Black is quite common too and its safety rating is not the greatest, although actual colors, like the ever-popular blue or red, aren’t as safe as you might think they are either. But how exactly does the color finish of a car affect its safety?

Believe it or not, there were several studies cited by various outlets that say black cars are considerably more likely to get into an accident. They all suggest that black is by far the most dangerous color possible for a car — the conclusion was drawn relying on filed police data on 850,000 accidents.

The reason for this is quite obvious — a black car is just harder to see in any light condition. During the day, the study concluded that black cars are 12 percent more likely to be involved in an accident, while during dawn, dusk and night hours, the increased risk percentage rises to a whopping 47 percent compared to the safest color for the same reason.

Fiat 500

Photo: FCA

Regarding silver cars, the source presents results from two contradicting studies. One of the studies, from New Zealand, found silver to be the safest of all colors. The other study claims pretty much the opposite, saying silver cars are 10 percent more likely to be involved in an accident, while for grey cars the percentage of risk increases to 11 percent.

The confusion here might have something to do with the fact that with the many possible shades of grey and silver, a clear differentiation between the two might be difficult. However, the fact that there is no consensus on these colors’ level of danger means it’s not yet clear whether they really are that dangerous, although we’re pretty sure that, for instance, a dark grey car is probably about as hard to see as a black one.

There’s no denying white cars are quite visible, regardless if it’s day or night, and studies on the matter confirm this. It’s not quite the safest color out there (although it just might be from a resale point of view), but white cars are apparently 12 percent less likely to be involved in a crash compared to black cars.

This also highlights the fact that a lighter shade on a car will always make it more visible and therefore less likely to be crashed into. Blue seems to be rated as not a particularly safe color. It apparently increases crash risk by 7 percent compared to the safest color, as does red.

Opel Adam

Photo: Opel

Green is rated as slightly safer than red or blue, but since they can blend in with surrounding vegetation, it’s fair to assume that you are more likely to miss a green car than, say, an orange one. Orange is among the safest colors, along with gold, although it is not the safest. According to research, the single safest color to have a car painted in is, drumroll, yellow.

It’s definitely easy to understand why yellow has this distinction. Pretty much everything that is intended to be highly visible is painted a shade of yellow because it just pops regardless of which backdrop it’s set against.

Long story short, research advises you to avoid black, grey, silver, red and blue cars, to maximize your car’s chances of not being involved in an accident. The same research suggests that orange, gold and especially yellow cars are far easier to spot and therefore the chances of being crashed into are reduced. In other words, New York taxis should be among the safest vehicles on Earth.

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Is There a Link Between Car Color and Accidents?

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand indicates that there may be a link between car color and serious injuries as a result of car accidents. Their findings were published in the The British Medical Journal in December 2003.

The study involved accidents in New Zealand between 1998 and 1999. According to their findings, drivers of brown cars had the highest risk of sustaining serious injuries caused by auto accidents. Black and green cars also had elevated risks.

Driving a silver car may be safer than driving a white car.

Which are the safest cars? Drivers of silver-colored cars, according to the report, have a 50% less chance of being involved in an injury-causing accident than do drivers of white cars! While the results are surprising, more studies need to be performed before we all rush out and repaint or replace our vehicles.

The scientists did not explain why there was such a disparity in accident rates. Perhaps lighter colored cars are more visible, or perhaps the people who choose such cars are a self-selecting group of safe drivers.

Silver and white are the most popular car colors in North America.

How popular are the various car colors? According to DuPont Automotive’s 2003 Color Popularity Report, the top three colors (silver, white and black) account for more than 50% of new cars manufactured for North America. Here is a chart highlighting the top ten most popular car colors:

ColorPercentage of New Cars
Med/Dark Gray11.5%
Light Brown8.8%
Med/Dark Blue8.5%
Medium Red6.9%
Med/Dark Green5.3%
Bright Red3.8%
Dark Red0.9%
Source: DuPont Automotive

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Discussion Comments

anon997326 December 16, 2016

My niece has hit two deer in the past two years and both incidents were with brand new cars. She totaled both cars and both happened to be with the silver Ford Focus. anon994210 January 24, 2016

I do think there is some truth to the article. I was just shopping for a used car the other day, and I mentioned this «light versus dark» colored statistic to the sales guy, and of course he did not want to discuss it because he had about 80 percent dark colored cars on his lot. LOL!

But anyway, notice especially at dusk sometime when you are sitting say at a stop light and cars are whizzing by — which cars are more visible? It’s the light colored cars for sure! Same as when a pedestrian and or a runner are going down the street in dark clothes! You simply can’t see them as well! anon990494 April 24, 2015

Those who are color blind see red and green as a grey. anon989132 February 21, 2015

Too many times I have been taken by surprise by grey cars. Because they camouflage so well against the road surface, I often don’t immediately spot them. anon954821 June 4, 2014

When they used to keep all reported car accident stats in the Greater Manchester Police (They stopped because you didn’t need to report an accident it it was damage only, i.e., no injury) the most common car color to be involved in an accident was green. They only now collect stats on injury accidents. I don’t know what the numbers are for these. anon339480 June 23, 2013

I relate to post 4; grey/silver cars do blend into the background and are there more of a hazard to give way to. On a dull/rainy day the hardest ones to see are grey/silver cars, and they also seems to be the ones most often without their lights on. Keep a note of what color car driver has made a stupid decision in front of you, and its usually one of those coloured cars, perhaps because more are sold, but I wouldn’t want a car that camouflages itself.

anon332824 May 1, 2013

My sister has a red car and she hits a new thing every week. Coincidence? I think not. anon307683 December 6, 2012

I have a yellow car. It’s been hit in a parking lot twice in one year. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the color. feasting November 4, 2012

@Perdido – I don’t think that the color of your car had anything to do with that. Deer are better at detecting motion than seeing color or details, so they wouldn’t spot a green car and be drawn to it.

However, the color of your car might have been a factor in your first wreck. If it happened during spring or summer when everything around you was green, it would really be the likely cause. Perdido November 3, 2012

I got into a terrible accident in a green car. Another driver hit me, and the car was totaled, but at the time, I didn’t think it had anything to do with the color.

However, I got another green car, and it seemed to be a deer magnet. I have hit three deer while driving in this vehicle, and one of them did a thousand dollars worth of damage!

Is it possible that green cars are more likely to be involved in accidents with deer because of their color? Can deer even see the color green? giddion November 2, 2012

My mom has a white sedan and my dad has a silver truck. Neither of them have ever been in any accidents in those vehicles.

However, it could just be because of how safely they drive. I am also a safe driver, and I own a red car. Even though my car is more likely to be hit than their cars are, I have never been involved in a wreck in this vehicle. kylee07drg November 2, 2012

@anon16213 – Come to think of it, I’ve seen a few yellow cars, but never ones with big dents in them! I’ve also only seen bright orange cars in excellent condition. They are the same color as traffic cones, so they are hard to miss! anon173004 May 5, 2011

There is certainly a correlation here. But it’s hard to say what the causation would be. Either silver/grey cars sell more then any other color, or the fact the the silver can easily blend in with its surroundings and especially with a grey sky. It could even be a combination. But I’m certain that both variables will affect the total number of accidents the question is which one is the biggest culprit. Just my opinion. anon108395 September 2, 2010

OK—I looked this up because when I owned an old (23 years old!) Honda Accord for two years, I had no accidents. I have been driving my bright red Toyota Tercel for less than two years, and three people have already run into me!

One person backed up into me, another person hit my car while parking next to me, and today a little old lady pulled out from a stop sign and rammed me in the right rear panel! I am not so sure how color works—but I’m beginning to consider a new paint job! anon90662 June 17, 2010

I also heard that red cars have more accidents than any other car color. Where can I find those statistics? Dani G.

anon69833 March 10, 2010

If silver is the most common color for cars on the roads, keeping the proportions it should be expected that silver cars are the most involved in accidents — that’s how I look at it. God forbid, I just bought a new silver one! anon54418 November 30, 2009

This is also true for thefts. Statistics show silver cars are also most likely to be stolen and white coloured vans. Twenty years ago, it was red cars. This is due to there being more silver coloured cars and white coloured vans on the road than any other color.

Therefore the report should state what percentage of vehicles coloured silver compared to how many silver cars there are which would show a more correct result. anon20265 October 28, 2008

I think there is a typo in this article — all other articles on the web say black cars were found to be the worst, but this article says white — which doesn’t go with the very next sentence in this article explaining that the lighter the color the safer the car.

anon19222 8 hours ago

Hi!I found your article very interesting.

Recently I bought a silver car. It was quite surprising for me to read in your article that people driving silver cars have a 50% less chance of being involved in an injury-causing accident than do drivers of white cars. Because I was always under the impression that most accidents occur at night and that white cars are safer because they are more visible during the night? Anyhow. Thanks for your nice web page. anon17084 August 21, 2008

i have heard few years ago from a man who worked in the auto ins industry that silver cars were most color to get in accidents as they blend in with the scenery and road color and dawn and dusk and when they take a left turn the drivers taking right turn at a light can really see them coming, i thought this was no true until it happened to me about 4 times me making a right turn and the other driver taking his left turn from the opposite side of the road and almost collided with my car as i did not see the silver cars coming across and into the lane. almost mishaps, but i will say at 73 years of age i have never had an accident since i was driving since i was 19. i am female and never even got a ticket for anything, but the silver cars making a left are a problems like the guy said who was in the insurance business. what do you all think? i do wear glasses for years and get my regular 6 month checkups. anon16213 July 31, 2008

Yellow would definitely have a smaller percentage. How many cars do you see that are yellow? anon1516 June 2, 2007

At one time, there were National Statistics reporting that red cars had more accidents per capita than any other color of vehicle. Yellow was reported to have the fewest. Are these statistics still valid or have they changed? Anyone know? Thank you. SFarquhar, Houston, TX

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