Color Matters: The Brain: Color Effects of Cars

Does the color of your car attract speeding tickets? Do the birds and the bees love your car? What's your favorite color for a car? Our visitors have sent us many stories. We invite you to hear what they have to say.

Color Effects of Cars


“I once owned a 1980 "sand-beige" ford escort. "Sand-beige" is a metallic goldish color which looks much nicer and honey-toned in the showroom than it does on the street. In the 4 years that I owned the car, it was hit 11 times. Each time it was either completely stopped at a light, stop sign or parked. Apparently, this is a hard color to see, particularly on sunny days. Now, I drive a black VW and have not been in an accident in 5 years.” (USA)

“When I read the anonymous letter about the owner of the car who had been hit 11 times I realized that it is similiar to my situation...” (USA)


“I used to own a 1991 red VW Jetta GL. My old red Jetta was scarlet red a standard color which is bright, eye-catching and "alert" on the road. In my four years driving this VW Jetta GL, I had been hit many times while driving carefully, stopped at a stop sign or parked. I do not understand why the color red should be such a target for the drivers on the road...? But fortunately I am driving my own "sand-beige" SAAB and I noticed that the color does makes my car less obvious on the I guess that I will have to drive more carefully on the road, to prevent the other cars from hitting me more.” (USA)

“I don't believe I could ever have a car in any color but candy-apple/fire-engine red. I don't know why. But when I'm driving a car in any other color, I feel like someone is quietly whispering, "Shhh." in my ear. I don't like being shushed. ;-)” (USA)

“I notice several stories about red cars being like moving targets that other cars seem to *try* to hit. I pondered on this a bit, then thought about how bull-fighters ALWAYS use a red cape to taunt the bull until he charged. Maybe there is something to this...” (USA)

“I've owned red cars since 1978 (6 of them). I LOVE red cars. Never had an accident, never a ticket, drive FAST all the time. Feel really good driving red cars! Previous colors of my cars were: silver, green, two-tone blue/white, brown, yellow, two-tone brown, white, ochre, blue, light blue. Never felt as good in these cars as I do in red, although my last brown car (1973 Montego) with matching brown interior made me feel most peaceful. However, since switching to red I feel so ALIVE in my car. In fact I now wear red shirts, red jackets, etc. Interesting about color, how it affects a person.” (USA)

“My car is bright a RED Grand Am with the license plate MADONNA. My sister went with me shopping the other day and commented that people kept looking at us. Wonder why?” (USA)

“A few years back I took a business trip to Tampa. It was cold winter weather here in Illinois, so I thought I would *treat* myself with renting a bright red LeBaron Convertible. The weather was gorgeous, top down, having a ball. While I was visiting with my client, one of the employees came in and told me "I think something is wrong with your car, it's smoking." I rushed out, along with my client and several other employees. The darn thing was ON FIRE!!! Smoke billowing out from under the hood. A couple of handy guys at my clients office sprayed her down good with white foamy stuff that put out the fire. Made a real mess of the engine compartment. ~:-) The rental car guy mumbled something like "It's rush hour and I don't think we have another red convertible, will another color do?" Well, the rental company was exposed to my gentle art of negotiating - like THREATS and my babbling on about how I had looked forward to treating myself by cruising around Tampa in a red convertible having come from sub-zero weather in Illinois. Wasn't too long when up pulled a car-carrier with another bright red convertible. I was happy then.” (USA)


“I own a dark, hunter green Saturn. I have noticed that policemen tend to pass me by even when I am speeding. Could this possibly be the color of my car?” (USA)

“'Metallic green' is the official colour of my Mazda, which is hardly an adequate description! My baby vacillates between black, dark blue, and green - sometimes taking on tinges of aqua, depending on the light and her mood. Whether she reflects on me or I on her, I'm not sure, but we trundle along in sync and harmony. Our bond seems to scare other cars away - despite being a careless driver, we've never had a crash!” (Australia)

“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)

“I have never owned a bright red or dark color of car in all my 20 years of driving. I now drive a pale green oldsmobile. I have had a few close calls but never a contact. . Thank heavens. I have read in the past that red cars are like a moving target to some... I will continue to drive lite colored cars anyway...” (USA)


“I am different now. I drive a sensible, white, entry-level luxury car. But once, I was wild and owned a turqouise Camaro. I will not comment about the quality of the car, or how it drives in the snow, but I will always remember, little girls dancing in the street as I drove by, and telling me how pretty my aqua-colored car was. They were right!” (USA)


“My mother owned a silver-grey car. We noticed a significate number of near colisions on foggy morning and dusky evening hours. The silver seems to blend in with the road.” (USA)

“I will never again rent a dark gray car. After renting hundreds of cars in various colors around the US, It was discovered that no matter where you are, a dark gray car just can't be seen well under low light level conditions - it blends with the road, and consequently people cut in front of the car as if it wasn't there at all. This happened 5 times in one day! Contrast with the road surface is essential, otherwise you are driving an invisible car. It doesn't matter what model or sized car - just the color. Then I once had a light blue car in a shade that it no longer available (thank heavens). I got rid of it because birds kept diving into the car thinking it was water. This would happen even when driving the car.” (USA)


“I had a yellow mazda; Bees were always a problem, I could not enjoy having the windows down due to this. Now I have a blue oldsmobile and Dragonflies think the hood is a pond and try to land on it over and over again.” (USA)


“I owned one time a black firebird and used to park under trees of the park in front of the house. These trees being the home of a lot of pigeons and I had far more pigeon "droppings" on my car than on light colored cars. Maybe a dark coloured ground is more "inspiring" for the birds?” (Belgium)


“I have this thing for white cars since I discovered they don't look that dirty even when they're filthy. When I was shopping for my white Honda Accord, the first salesman asked me what color I wanted. I replied, "White." Then he proceeded to ask me what my second color choice was, to which I replied, "White."” (USA)

“The person who commented about white cars never looking dirty even when they're filthy is absolutely RIGHT! I am now driving my first non-white car and I've already decided that my next car will be white again. The funny thing is that in talking about white cars, people always make the comment that "white cars show the dirt more." Nothing could be further from the truth! My metallic hunter-green Jeep Cherokee always looks dirtier than my white cars ever did. Besides, as a designer, I think that you can appreciate a car's "lines" and good looks better without color to get in the way visually.” (USA)