You may laugh when a friend’s first question about your new car is “What colour is it?’, but colour selection can affect your vehicle and safety in ways that aren’t obvious at first. It isn’t all about how nice the car will look in front of the house!
|What colour would you choose?|
PPG industries (the world’s leading manufacturer of car paints) regularly updates its automotive colour trend data, which consistently shows the most popular global car colour to be white. In 2013 white ranked first with 25 per cent of the market share, followed by silver and black with 18 per cent each and then by grey, red, natural hues, blue and green. While manufacturers each try and create their own distinct variations of each colour to match brands and car types, the fact is that the plainer the colour the better!
Firstly the colour you choose for your car may impact the car’s value, should you choose to sell it down the track. In general the inoffensive and always popular colours of white, black, grey and silver will hold their value the most over time. If you’ve gone for a pastel or bright shade that might have been the ‘in thing’ at the time, then the vehicle will be harder to pass on to the next owner.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is the safety of your car on the road. A study undertaken by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) investigating the relationship between vehicle colour and crash risk found that black, blue, grey, green, red and sliver vehicles had a higher crash risk compared with white vehicles.
The MUARC study showed that black, grey, sliver, red and blue fail to stand out against the background of the road, scenery and other traffic. The study also found, after allowing for the fact that risk-takers may be more drawn to some colours than others, found black cars to be the most accident prone.
During daylight hours they were up to 12 per cent more likely to be in crashes than white vehicles, while at dawn and dusk, the figure rose to 47 per cent. Grey and silver cars were the next most risky, followed by red and blue, the study says.
The research also suggests that crash severity is related to vehicle colour, with low visibility colours having higher risks of more severe crashes.
Colours that are higher on the visibility index, such as white, are recommended to reduce crash risk.
|The safest colour on the road.|
Solutions such as using headlights in daylight hours, painted bumper bars and high visibility strips on cars have been suggested to address the visibility problem but no change in legislation is on the horizon.
While driving a darker car can increase your crash risk, it’s also worth remembering that it’s not the only influence on road safety. There are road rules to be adhered to and the safe running of the vehicle, such as good brakes, good tyres and correct steering that also need to be looked after.
So don’t forget, you can have a pre-purchase inspection done at your local Cooper Automotive service centre.
And next time you’re buying a new vehicle, think twice about the colour. It’s worth it.