If you bought a new vehicle this year, chances are high it was either white or silver. They remain the most popular colours in South Africa with a combined market share of over 60% of all new cars sold in the country last year. These colours are perceived to be more “neutral” and therefore easier to resell, and also believed to be easier to repair scratches and damage. If you chose white as the colour of your new car, then congratulations, you have picked the hue with the statistically best chances of NOT getting into a motor vehicle collision!
A decision about what colour car to purchase goes beyond simple aesthetics. The main issue is how visible you are to other vehicles?
Most buyers opt for white followed by silver and much lower down in the popularity stakes are grey, blue and red. Yellow, maroon, purple and pink are the least popular colours. It has also been revealed that the colour black has slipped down the rankings and that the warm climate is what’s making it a less desirable colour for vehicles in South Africa. White’s dominance varies: in South Africa it’s 40%; in India 28%; in Japan 26%. Europe used to favour silver and now it’s black (25%), silver (20%), then white (18%).
Notice a large number of white, pearl white, ice white and opalescent white cars on the roads lately? That’s because white ranks as the most popular vehicle colour for the second year in a row!
The colour of your car does indeed play a role in road safety, but it would be unwise to base all your safety concerns on colour alone, as other safety factors play a big role such as, how often your car is serviced, how you drive, and of course, how good the safety features of your car are in the first place.
A thorough study of more than 850 000 vehicles conducted by Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) analysed multi-vehicle collisions. The study analysed risk by light condition. In daylight black cars were 12% more likely than white to be involved in an accident, followed by grey cars at 11%, silver cars at 10%, and red and blue cars at 7%. At dawn or dusk the risk ratio for black cars jumped to 47% more likely than white, and 15% for silver cars. In the hours of darkness only red and silver cars were found to be significantly more risky than white, by 10% and 8% respectively. Their finding was that no other shade of automotive paint was safer than white when it came to vehicles involved in collisions (no matter what the time of day or ambient light level). In daylight collisions, black cars had the worst luck with a 12% higher risk than white. So, if colour is the sole criteria, the results clearly show that white cars are the safest. Insurance companies don't set rates based on vehicle colour, but if the MUARC results are to be taken seriously, maybe they should!