Background: Bright- or light-colored vehicles are sometimes regarded as safer because they are presumably more visible. We examined the effect of vehicle color on the risk of being passively involved in a collision.
Methods: This paired case-control study used data from the Spanish database of traffic crashes. We selected those collisions from 1993 to 1999 in which only one of the drivers committed an infraction. The violators constituted the control group; the other drivers formed the case group. Information about the color of the vehicle and other confounding variables was also collected.
Results: When white was compared with the remaining colors, a protective estimate was obtained (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.97; 95% confidence interval = 0.94-1.00). The results were similar for light colors (white plus yellow) compared with all remaining colors (aOR = 0.96; 0.94-0.99). The protective effect of light colors was specifically observed for open roads and under daylight conditions. It was stronger in conditions other than good weather (aOR = 0.91; 0.86-0.99) than in good weather conditions.
Conclusions: Light colors (white and yellow) were associated with a slightly lower risk of being passively involved in a collision, although only under certain environmental conditions.