White is the most popular vehicle color in the world. Owners of large sport utility vehicles tend to prefer black. Silver is a common choice for drivers of mid-size sedans. Other car color choices wax and wane in popularity from year to year. Many vehicle owners have strong opinions about what vehicle colors they love or hate. Is there more to a car color than personal preference and taste?
Not really. However, there are quite a few myths about the “power” of vehicle color. Here are six of the most prevalent:
- It alters your odds of getting speeding tickets. The “conventional wisdom” says that drivers of red cars are pulled over for speeding more often than people who drive vehicles of other colors. Supporting arguments include the high visibility of red, its widespread association with sports cars or a perceived “optical illusion” which makes red cars appear to be moving faster than they actually are. However, upon examination of actual moving violation records, it’s apparent that there is no proven correlation between car color and speeding ticket incidence.
- It may make your vehicle harder to see. Let’s face it – how many TV shows or movies have you seen where a villain, criminal or suspicious individual in a light-colored car is trying to surreptitiously follow the hero? Not surprisingly, this has given rise to the notion that darker colored vehicles are harder to see than lighter colored cars. While this is certainly true if the vehicle in question is parked in an unlit area, the headlights, brake lights, and running lights on all vehicles serve as equalizers in terms of visibility in darkness.
- It impacts the interior temperature of your vehicle. You’ve probably heard this one before – “Darker vehicles are hotter inside than lighter ones because darker colors absorb more heat that lighter hues.” That may have been true once upon a time, but not today. Temperature tests have revealed no difference between interiors in light and dark cars. Why? Auto paint manufacturers have formulated superior paint finishes which reflect heat better. The vehicles themselves are more insulated from the elements than they once were.
- It is related to the number of collisions you are involved in. Anecdotes abound about how specific paint colors lead to more auto accidents than average. Gray or beige cars are hit more often because they are harder to see in daylight. Green cars are prone to accidents if driven in rural areas where green grass and crops grow. However, studies have not revealed any consistent findings which correlate collision incidence with vehicle color. One reason is that most research only examines crash statistics and does not account for the distribution of similar or different colored cars on the road when the data was compiled. This makes any conclusions untrustworthy.
- It affects your auto insurance rates. People who believe some of the above mentioned myths will insist that certain colored vehicles cost more to insure like red cars because of the greater number of speeding tickets. Black cars supposedly get into more crashes. Any auto insurance company will tell you that it only sets its rates based on actual driving-related factors (experience, driving record, make and model, miles driven, etc.) and not on exterior color. Those are the real-life determinants of claim risk.
- It increases your sex appeal. Come on. Did you really think this was true?