Monday, February 25, 2008

It's the Color, Stupid

When it comes to cars, I know a lot. I know that a V-8 is better than a V-7, that a clean car drives better than a dirty car and that red is the common denominator in the majority of car accidents.

And because red spells D-A-N-G-E-R when zipping down the road, insurance companies jack up the rates on red cars like you wouldn't believe. So while shopping for a car for our 16-year-old recently, I steered clear of the red cars because, as I told the salesman, WE ALL KNOW that the insurance premiums would be sky-high on a red car. Insurance, accidents, speeding tickets... And that's when he and the husband stopped and looked at me. I think they both darted their eyes and shook their heads.

On the way home:"Where do you get your statistics?"
"Oh, EVERYbody knows that a red car is nothing but trouble. You've never heard that?"
"No. Because it's not true."

OK, Mr. Smarty Pants. I don't know WHERE I heard it, but I will tell you what I know NOW about the correlation between car color and accidents. And I learned all of it from the website, where one alert reader posted this:

Hi Susan . . . While I don't have an answer to your question about red cars getting more speeding tickets, I may be able to point you in the direction of a place to look for related information. . . Several years ago when I was contemplating repainting my car Red, a friend in the car repair business for many years talked me out of it. Why? Red cars, he said, get into more accidents than cars any other color . . . He said his experience with several car repair firms bore this out . . . It might be interesting to call a few repair shop owners and see what they say about this . . . Just a thought! Good luck! Ro

That's enough for me! OK, so what about green? Here's what I learned from another alert reader:
I lived in Indonesia. I never had any particular preference for car colors, so in the past I had many different colors. I've had white, beige, dark brown, blue, emerald green, dull green, even turquoise. Every member of the family is a good driver, there was only one accident within 10 years and it wasn't our fault. About 2 years ago, I got a very dark green metallic car. Within 8 months the car once fell into a small sewerage, hit a truck, got hit on the back twice, got the stereo stolen, vandalized, had a total engine malfunction on a real heavy rain, and several other minor mishaps. Most of these happened during the night. I sold the car afterwards, and bought exactly the same car but this time it's metallic red. Nothing bad ever happened to the new one. I talked to new owner, but he said it's doing just fine. That's odd.....Indonesia

So, mark out the green from our color wheel of choices; ignore his endorsement of the color red.

I thought we had the problem solved when we decided on a charcoal grey, UNTIL I READ THESE ACCOUNTS:
My cousin owns a body shop. Before buying my last car I asked which color would be best. "Anything but silver - grey. Those cars are over 65% of my business. They seem to get hit all the time!"

And then this one, apparently from a non-English speaking country, as evidenced by the spelling of "colored":
I was just broad sided by grey coloured car today. I did not see the car before I made a left hand turn. I did not see lights on the car, before I made the turn. It seemed to come out of nowhere. This is not the first time this has happened to me....the first time I escaped by the skin of my teeth. Grey car owners beware....turn on your lights when driving DAY or night....and watch out for people making left hand blend into the road too much.

So what's a mom to do? According to car owners the world over, no color is safe. And therein lies the secret: It's an ABSENCE of color that will ensure a higher degree of safety. Read on (note the use of the word "click"; I think the author meant "clique," bless her heart):
I drive a white car. Would never drive another color. Guess what? People who drive white cars are in the white car click. I always let people who drive white cars get in front of me. They always do the same for me too. From now on, take a moment and notice the white car click. You will always see 2 or more white cars together...even driving along the highway. We help each other out. COOL WHITE.

That's some kind of peace of mind, don't you think? Instant friends, people looking out for you, heightened safety? I'm SOLD, although white is harder to keep clean and therefore may hinder the car's driving performance...