Title: Are you more likely to be involved in a serious car accident driving a ‘fast car’
There is no denying that those who drive a bright red or bright yellow sports car are often targeted when it is time to hand out speeding tickets. However, are drivers that drive a ‘fast car’ more likely to be involved in a serious car accident than those who do not?
Where did this idea come from?
Many people rely on anecdotal evidence to back up claims that certain car colors, especially those often associated with sports cars (e.g. red or yellow) are more prone to suffering accidents than others. This belief came from the fact that most people who drive ‘fast cars’ are statistically more likely to be involved in serious car accidents and are often handled by aggressive drivers. However, is there scientific evidence to back up these claims?
What the research says
Publicized research from 2002 and 2003 claimed that silver, yellow, and white vehicles were far less accident-prone than darker-colored automobiles. However, these findings were proven as inconclusive by Australia’s Monash University Accident Investigation Center. They conducted one of the most comprehensive studies on the relationship between crash risk and car colors. Vehicle exterior finishes were divvied up into several broad colors and variables crash severity, vehicle type, and lighting factors.
The study found that silver, red, green, grey, blue, and black cars were at a higher risk of an accident during daylight hours. Note that the traditionally ‘bright red’ is left off that list. They also found that nighttime evened out the risk factors because in the dark, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the different colors.
What it means
Clearly driving while drunk, fatigued, or using a mobile phone are much greater risk factors than having a fast car or a higher risk vehicle color. A low risk vehicle color cannot mitigate high-risk behavior such as driving faster than the posted speed limit. Ultimately there is no doubt that drivers should pick the car that they want, the color that makes them happy and practice safe and defensive driving habits
The truth is that in the end, the car the person is driving does not matter as much as the actual driver does. You can put a safe driver behind the wheel of a Ford pickup truck or a brand new Ferrari, and that driver is still going to be a safe driver. Meanwhile, someone who texts and drives or is just a very poor overall driver is still going to present the same danger on the road; it does not matter if you put them in a sporty model or a family sedan.
The real causes of most serious car wrecks
Rather than having a ‘fast car’ or a ‘traditional’ car, the four factors that contribute to the vast majority of collisions are the following:
- Driver behavior
- Poor roadway maintenance
- Roadway design
- Equipment failure
More than 95% of car accidents are related to driver behavior in some way, perhaps in combination with the three other factors. Even though drivers are quick to blame other drivers, equipment failure, and road conditions for possible accidents, if we look at the facts, the primary cause is usually the behavior of the implicated driver. Aggressive driver behavior or excessive speed is always going to be more of a factor than the vehicle you are doing it in.