Car colour

Drivers say AA yellow is safest car colour according to latest AA/Populus survey

22 December 2011

Drivers say AA yellow is safest car colour

Drivers say AA yellow is safest car colour

More than a third of AA members believe lighter colour cars are the safest.  Yellow tops the car colour safety poll followed by white and red, an AA/Populus survey reveals.

Visibility or sending a message is what divides large sections of the 15,860 AA members who took part in the survey.

The traditionally ‘safest’ colour yellow (15%), along with white (13%) and silver (7%), support the visibility argument. But red (12%) stands out as a key choice, perhaps because it symbolises danger and is associated with fire engines, or perhaps because it serves as a psychological warning to others. 

Lighter colours are the ‘safest’ choice of males yet, among females, red (13%) outscores even yellow (12% - compared to 17% among males).

Although yellow dominates as the safest choice of colour for a car across the age-range, red runs it close among younger drivers and even sits level with yellow at 12% among AA members aged 35 to 44 years. From there on, among older drivers, yellow (up to18%) shows greater prominence with white-coloured cars (up to 16%) also winning greater safety approval than red (up to 13%).

Drivers were asked:

Which colour of car do you consider to be the safest?

  • Yellow 15%
  • White 13%
  • Red 12%
  • Silver 7%
  • Grey/Green/Blue/Black 3%
  • Brown/Gold 2%

Regions where red is considered as safe as yellow include Yorkshire and Humberside (14% red v 14% yellow) and the North West (13% red v 13% yellow).

In bad light some car colours are easier to spot than others hence the importance of using your lights when visibility is poor

Edmund King, AA president

Comment

“We were not surprised that yellow comes out top as it is the colour selected by the AA to make our patrol vehicles more visible.  There is also research on conspicuity of vehicle colours which backs this up.

Before the 1980s, yellow was perceived as the ‘safe’ colour for utility vehicles, and this may strongly influence the choice of older generations. However, the lighter-colour versus red divide is intriguing,” says Edmund King, AA president.

“In bad light some car colours are easier to spot than others hence the importance of using your lights when visibility is poor. We certainly believe that yellow AA patrol vans are easier to spot on the hard-shoulder but we accept that not everyone wants to drive a yellow car.”

Light colours vs red

Which colour of car do you consider to be the safest – light-coloured (yellow, white or silver) v red?

  • London 36% v 11%
  • South East 36% v 12%
  • South West 35% v 13%
  • Wales 32% v 12%
  • East Midlands 34% v 11%
  • East Anglia 35% v 13%
  • Yorks/Humberside 32% v 14%
  • North West 33% v 13%
  • North East 33% v 12%
  • West Midlands 36% v 11%
  • Scotland 33% v 11%
  • Northern Ireland 33% v12%
  • ALL 35% v 12%

(updated 31 January 2012)