Dec. 18, 2003 -- Heading into holiday traffic? A silver sleigh -- OK, car -- is your best bet for optimum safety.
A new study, in this week's British Medical Journal, matches car color with car crash injury data.
Researchers analyzed 571 New Zealand car crash cases on urban and rural roads during one year's time. Each crash resulted in the hospitalization or death of at least one occupant. The researchers factored in the driver's age, alcohol and recreational drug use, driving time, weather, and ambient light conditions.
Previous studies have suggested that white or light colored cars have fewer car crashes, but in this study, silver cars had dramatically fewer crashes.
"Silver cars were about 50% less likely to be involved in a crash resulting in serious injury than white cars," writes lead researcher S. Furness, an epidemiologist with the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
Researchers also found:
- Brown cars were least safe: Occupants in brown cars had the highest risk of serious injury in car crashes.
- Occupants in black and green cars had a slightly lower risk than in brown cars, but the risk of injury was higher than in white cars.
- Occupants in white, yellow, grey, red, and blue cars all had medium-range injury risk -- between silver and brown.
The researchers say increasing the proportion of silver cars on roads may be a potential strategy for reducing injury from car crashes.
SOURCE: Furness, S. British Medical Journal, Dec. 20-27, 2003; vol 327: pp1455-1456.