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Is There a Link Between Car Color and Accidents?

In December 2003 researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand discovered that certain car colors were more predisposed to being involved in accidents.

The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal in December 2003, showed that between the year 1988 and 1999 there was a clear trend on the colors of the cars involved in car accidents. Most of the cars that were in accidents were brown, followed by black and green. Silver cars on the other hand had a 50% lower risk than white cars.

The study did show a trend but did not present a clear explanation for it. Could it be that light-colored cars are better seen at night? A black car with a broken headlight would be nearly invisible in poor visibility, such as during a storm or in the wee hours of the morning. However, silver would probably be more reflective.

However, another explanation may be in the personality types of the drivers. Black, considered to be a sleek and sophisticated color, may appeal to a group of people that would be more inclined to speed on the road. Silver, a conservative color, may also appeal to a group that tends to be naturally more careful while driving.

The study, which picked up a lot of media attention, may have affected car-purchasing trends. The DuPont Automotive 2003 Color Popularity Report showed that silver and white became the two most widely-bought colors and, combined, made up nearly half of all car purchases.

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