Category Archives: AAA

What’s the safest car color?

Oh boy, when I am wrong I am REALLY, REALLY wrong. Well just this once anyway. You may recall my uncomplimentary comments about vehicles of a certain color, as in these excerpts from Riders on the Road: How to Laugh More and Rage Less with The Rider Method:

Are you as alarmed as I am about the disturbing frequency with which we’re seeing those horrid bright yellow cars on the road lately? At least so far there’s none of the equally hideous green that went along with the yellows last time, I think it was during our Vega period.

Or there was the time when I made fun of the cars in this photo (I think it was something along the lines of double ugly):

Well, I’m sorry! I take it all back. Because you folks in the yellow vehicles are driving around in the safest color there is, or close to it. According to a White Paper called Car Color and Safety that I found on the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety website:

Optometrists note that, for its high visibility, lime yellow should be used by fire and rescue teams, as well as favored by trucks and car buyers.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that, and for more on this multi-faceted topic you can check out the full white paper (Car Color and Safety) or one of the sources cited (Color Matters), where you’ll find that this isn’t exactly a recent discovery, since the paper was written in 2004. If only Mother Rider’s crack research staff were paying attention she might have been prevented from making this little oops.

She might also have been clued in a few paragraphs ago that there are several studies out there that come to different conclusions. Silver is a popular choice, for example, which makes very little sense given its ability to blend into rainy, snowy or foggy conditions. And white or pink have been the winners in other studies. Seriously? I think I’d better stop looking.

Oh well, as tempting as it is to pretend that this changes everything and I wasn’t wrong after all, I will own up to this one anyway. Because it never hurts to have an excuse to share one more excerpt from Riders, this time to pass on some smart advice from the father of salubrious driving about learning from our mistakes, so here you go:

Dad was always a proponent of using mistakes as valuable learning experiences. Of course to reap the benefits, first we need to admit to them. This can be the trickiest part. Do the best you can.

Thanks, Dad! And thanks, AAAFTS, for all your great research on this and many other safe driving topics.