The colour of the car is an important parameter when choosing your car, but we often choose car colours based on personal taste and preferences, as well as ease of maintenance rather than looking at the safety aspect of it. Car colours and safety? Yes, there is a correlation.
It’s simple logic that the brighter the colour of the car, the more visible it is on the road, making it relatively safer than a dull coloured car that may not be noticed and hence, more prone to accidents.
The safest colours
Research at the University of California has thrown up that either bright blue or bright yellow are the best colours for car safety. Bright blue shows up best in daytime running, while yellow is visible even at night and in foggy weather. According to research, the worst colour for a car is grey, as it tends to blend in with the road and scenery. Also read: A quick guide to car safety in India
Colours such as black, dark green, dark grey, dark brown, are all relatively invisible on the road and therefore driver’s of such cars need to take more precautions, as oncoming motorists may or may not notice them as fast as they would notice a bright coloured car. Cars that are bright red, orange, yellow, lime green, and bright blue stand out in sharp contrast to the environment and hence are safer.
White and silver, which are the two most popular car colours in India, are relatively neutral. White cars again are quite safe as they stand out in most environments, except in snow covered landscapes. Silver is not that safe as they tend to get hidden in foggy conditions and during twilight or in the mountains.
Another study by Mercedes Benz in Germany, however, showed that white ranked the highest in all-round visibility except as mentioned above on snow-covered roads or in white-sand deserts. Mercedes ranked bright yellow and orange as second and third on the list of safest colours. According to them, the least visible colour was dark green.
How to enhance safety for dull colours
In India, we buy cars also by the ease of maintenance – silver and beige show up fewer scratches and dirt, while white cars are easy to touch up. Black, maroon, dark blue, purple show up scratches easily and it’s hard to keep dust from showing up on the car. And these colours are relatively invisible as well. If you own a car in one of these colours, how do you keep it visible on the road. Here are some tips. Also read: A guide to daytime running lights
Fit daytime running lamps if you can. These are easily available accessories these days and make it easy for oncoming drivers to see your car. Of course, many fit these as cosmetic add ons now, even though it is actually a safety feature started by the Audis and Skodas in India.
If you don’t have daytime running lamps, you can drive with your bumper-mounted fog lamps on (if equipped). This will make your car more visible. Especially in grey, rainy weather, it is always a good idea to turn on your headlamps or foglamps. It’s also a good idea to keep your park lamps on in dawn and dusk driving conditions.
A third way to increase visibility is to put a couple of strips of reflective tape. Use amber or white tape in the front and red tape at the rear of the car. These strips turn reflective when headlights of other vehicles shine on them, making them safer. Also read: Safest diesel cars under Rs. 11 lakh
Share any other experiences you’ve had with car colour and safety with the CarToq community.