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Is There a Link Between Car Color and Accidents?

L. S. Wynn
By L. S. Wynn
Updated May 23, 2024
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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.

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.

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:

Color Percentage of New Cars
Silver 20.2% popularity of new cars painted silver
White 18.4% popularity of new cars painted white
Black 11.6% popularity of new cars painted black
Med/Dark Gray 11.5% popularity of new cars painted medium or dark gray
Light Brown 8.8% popularity of new cars painted light brown
Med/Dark Blue 8.5% popularity of new cars painted medium or dark blue
Medium Red 6.9% popularity of new cars painted medium red
Med/Dark Green 5.3% popularity of new cars painted medium or dark green
Bright Red 3.8% popularity of new cars painted bright red
Dark Red 0.9% popularity of new cars painted dark red
Source: DuPont Automotive

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Discussion Comments
By anon997326 — On Dec 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.

By anon994210 — On Jan 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!

By anon990494 — On Apr 24, 2015

Those who are color blind see red and green as a grey.

By anon989132 — On Feb 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.

By anon954821 — On Jun 04, 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.

By anon339480 — On Jun 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.

By anon332824 — On May 01, 2013

My sister has a red car and she hits a new thing every week. Coincidence? I think not.

By anon307683 — On Dec 06, 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.

By feasting — On Nov 04, 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.

By Perdido — On Nov 03, 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?

By giddion — On Nov 02, 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.

By kylee07drg — On Nov 02, 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!

By anon173004 — On May 05, 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.

By anon108395 — On Sep 02, 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!

By anon90662 — On Jun 17, 2010

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

By anon69833 — On Mar 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!

By anon54418 — On Nov 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.

By anon20265 — On Oct 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.

By anon19222 — On Oct 08, 2008

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.

By anon17084 — On Aug 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.

By anon16213 — On Jul 31, 2008

Yellow would definitely have a smaller percentage. How many cars do you see that are yellow?

By anon1516 — On Jun 02, 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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