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Is the colour of your car important? Well, it’s hardly up there with the fuel type and engine size, but your vehicle’s colour can have some surprising implications.
Many motorists simply pick a colour they like – and blue and silver are the most popular choices.
They are not exactly daring, but they are easy to keep clean and easy to sell on. Black is also a favourite, particularly among younger drivers.
Perhaps it’s something to do with the image. Black is also a common choice for celebrities and can suggest someone who is cool and rebellious. But black cars are arguably more dangerous.
Shades of danger
There have been various studies over the years into the correlation between car colour and accident rates, and black cars almost always top the car crash index.
One study concluded that black cars are 47% more likely to be involved in road accidents than vehicles of other colours.
White, gold, and yellow are deemed to be the safest. It’s not an exact science, but research using police data of more than 850,000 accidents over 20 years suggests that some shades are more visible on the road than others.
Black vehicles, for example, are harder to see as they do not always stand out against the road or background scenery.
During daylight hours, black cars were up to 12% more likely be involved in crashes than white vehicles.
At dawn and dusk when the light is poor, the figure rose to 47%. The visibility of grey, silver, red and blue cars can also be poor.
A study in New Zealand also looked at the link between car colour and accident rates.
It too concluded that black cars were the most accident prone. But it found that silver was the safest colour – contradicting the other research.
The results could be influenced by the type of motorist who chooses silver as the colour is favoured by drivers over the age of 55, who are statistically among the safest on the road.
Of course, colour is only one of many crash factors.
The age and experience of the driver, speed of the car, and the vehicle’s safety features are all much more important in determining the likelihood of an accident, not to mention the influence of drink and drugs.
Colour by theft
Your choice of car colour could affect the safety of your vehicle in other ways, too.
A survey by the AA found that red and blue cars were the most popular target for thieves. However, the organisation stressed that there is no strong link between colour and theft.
Car insurance costs
Motor insurance companies collect masses of data on cars and drivers so that they can assess the likelihood of a claim.
Risk factors include the age of the driver and the size of the car’s engine. A young motorist with a high performance car will therefore pay more for car cover than an older driver with a small runabout.
But insurers do not take colour into account when setting premiums as the statistics are too unreliable. So, while your black car might affect your accident rate, it shouldn’t affect your car insurance.