Safest Car Color: The Art of Being Seen

If you're actually thinking about buying a car in the safest car color possible, then you obviously take car safety very seriously. Don't forget to take a look at our recommendations on car safety rating resources.

So, why care about car colors anyway, aside from aesthetics? Well, it's all about being seen. If other drivers can see you a split second sooner, they can stop or go around you a split second sooner.

For example, what if your car color enables other drivers to see you even 0.1 second sooner in a rainstorm? If they're traveling 60 miles per hour, that's a difference of 8.8 feet. That could be the difference between a crash and a near-miss.

So, if you want to find the safest car color, start being more observant when you drive. Notice how well different colors show up early in the morning, at twilight, in heavy fog, or in the rain.

I think you'll find that black, brown, and navy cars are the hardest to spot in less-than-optimal lighting. Now, brown cars aren't terribly popular nowadays, but black cars are really cool. Are you willing to sacrifice this coolness to avoid accidents? (We would be.)

On the other hand, light or bright car colors typically show up best. Red, depending on the shade, isn't always as visible as you might think, but silver and white often stand out well. Ever seen those Subaru Bajas that are bright, bright yellow? I love those, and they're hard to miss.

But there is no single best color for all conditions.

Your best bet is to notice which colors are most visible in your particular geography and climate, and then select one of them for your next car. And remember: no matter what color car you drive, you can't go wrong by turning on your headlights whenever driving conditions give you the slightest doubt about being seen.


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