Car buyers may want to consider more than just the model and make of vehicles when choosing their next car, after research found a car’s colour can influence the chance of involvement in an accident. The Journal of Safety Science deemed white, gold and yellow cars the safest to be in, whilst black cars are considered the most dangerous. The study which was carried out over 20 years, concluded that motorists who owned a black car are 47 per cent more likely to be involved in road accidents. According to researchers the reason is not down to the type of driver behind the wheel, but is due to
the visibility of their vehicle. The research found that black, grey, silver, red and blue cars fail to stand out properly against the background of the road, the surrounding scenery and other traffic. Researchers from Monash University in Australia, analysed police data on 850,00 accidents, paying particular attention to information on the car, the time of day the accident happened and the type of accident that occurred. After attempting to account for the possibility that drivers who take risks could be more attracted to certain colour cars, they concluded that black was the most accident prone, followed closely by grey and silver cars. The study found that during daylight hours, black cars were 12 per cent more likely to be involved in a crash than a white vehicle. What’s more, at dawn or dusk the figure rose to 47 per cent. Researcher Dr Stuart Newstead was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: “Whilst campaigns to modify vehicle colour choice could alter the crash risk for the fleet, colour is a much less influential crash risk modifier than behavioural traits such as drink-driving and speeding.” Silver not safe car colour warns Monash expert, 31 October 2007. Leading Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) researcher Dr Stuart Newstead has warned that the surge in popularity of silver coloured vehicles on Australian roads presents an increased crash-risk. Dr Newstead is the author of the recent Vehicle Colour Study, conducted by MUARC, which found that white is the safest car colour.
The study found that black cars are most likely to be involved in an accident, with a 12 per cent higher crash risk than white vehicles, but Dr Newstead believes the study’s finding that silver cars had a ten per cent higher crash risk than white should be of concern given the high volume of silver vehicle sales. Recent statistics show that silver makes up around a third of new vehicles sold in Australia, with white at 20 per cent and black 10 per cent. It is reported that fashion, asset protection (re-sale value) and prestige are some of the factors driving the silver surge. “It concerns me greatly that silver has now surpassed white as the most popular choice for new vehicles,” Dr Newstead said. “The safest car colour has now been replaced by one of the least safe.” Dr Newstead said that silver gets easily lost in the road environment and is a factor in higher-severity crashes. “Even in good conditions, silver has low contrast with the road environment,” he said. “That lack of visibility is even worse in fading light or cloudy and wet conditions. Less visibility means less time for other drivers to react to an impending accident situation, which leads to more crashes and higher severity crashes for drivers of silver cars.” Dr Newstead believes people who drive silver cars should be aware that they may not be seen as quickly by other motorists and
make their vehicle more visible. “People need to think about making their silver cars more visible by installing daytime running lights or driving with their headlights on,” he said. “I hope, though, that ultimately safety will triumph over fashion and we will see more people selecting white as their car colour.” Dr Stuart Newstead, Senior Research Fellow. Research Interests; Road safety countermeasure evaluation. Application and development of statistical methodology to road safety and injury prevention research. Vehicle safety. Stuart Newstead is a Senior Research Fellow at the Monash University Accident Research Centre where he leads a team of seven numerical scientists. He holds a Ph.D. in applied statistics and is accredited by the Australian Statistical Society. He has worked at the Centre since 1993 primarily in the road safety field but with statistical advisory roles across the broader injury research domain. He has developed specific expertise in the areas of road safety program evaluation, vehicle safety research from mass data analysis and management and analysis of road crash and injury databases. He has particular interest in the development and application of statistical methodology in both road safety and broader public health research. sources: sellcar-uk.com & monash.edu.au
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