Silver is not safe

An Australian researcher has warned that the surge in popularity of silver vehicles presents an increased crash risk on Australian roads.


Dr Stuart Newstead from Monash University’s Accident Research Centre researcher is the author of the recent Vehicle Colour Study, which found that white is the safest car colour.


The study found that black cars are most likely to be involved in an accident, with a 12 percent higher crash risk than white vehicles, but Dr Newstead believes the study’s finding that silver cars had a ten percent higher crash risk than white should be of concern given the high sales volume of silver vehicles in Australia.


Recent statistics show that silver makes up around a third of new vehicles sold in Australia, with white at 20 percent and black at ten percent. It is reported that fashion, asset protection (re-sale value), and prestige are some of the factors driving the silver surge.


‘It concerns me greatly that silver has now surpassed white as the most popular choice for new vehicles,’ Dr Newstead said. ‘The safest car colour has now been replaced by one of the least safe.’


Dr Newstead says that silver gets easily lost in the road environment and is a factor in higher severity crashes.


‘Even in good conditions, silver has low contrast with the road environment,’ he added. ‘That lack of visibility is even worse in fading light or cloudy and wet conditions. Less visibility means less time for other drivers to react to an impending accident situation which leads to more crashes and higher severity crashes for drivers of silver cars.’


Dr Newstead believes people who drive silver cars should be aware that they may not be seen as quickly by other motorists and make their vehicle more visible.


‘People need to think about making their silver cars more visible by installing daytime running lights or driving with their headlights on,’ he said.


‘I hope, though, that ultimately safety will triumph over fashion and we will see more people selecting white as their car colour.’