One need only think about the colour of high visibility vests, fog lights and Sydney Harbour water taxis for the answer. But will colour matter in the future driver-less cars?
Colours are used in advertising and have emotional responses. In the western world, red is either a warning or signifies excitement and boldness. Green is for peace or growth, blue for calm and strength and yellow for optimism and hope. Our eye-brain response recognizes colour by which of the light sensitive nerve cells at the back of the retina are activated by the light wavelengths. It is interesting that yellow, which has the wavelength of 570-590 nanometres, activates the most nerve cells. That is why yellow is the most visible colour to the human eye from a distance. Yellow is also the most common flower colour for easy location by insects and birds. In parts of Asia, yellow symbolizes royalty, solemnity and sacredness.
Research in Australia by the Monash University Accident Research Centre in 2007 revealed that statistically, black, blue and grey cars were most involved in car crashes in daylight hours. They were less visible than red, green, white and yellow ones. Therefore yellow was the safest colour for cars for its visibility on the road in daylight. My experience mirrors this as the only time I’ve sustained minor bumps was in my blue sedan when it blended into the road surface and became less visible to others. I’ve had no similar problems with my yellow, red or white cars and my driving pattern and skills have not changed. What are your experiences?
All this presumes the human driver is at the wheel and in control of the vehicle. But will the colour be a safety issue in future models when vehicles are robotically controlled? I think not. Automative cars will be designed with safety in mind and the colour will be determined by either its electronic capabilities or the whim of the owner. I hope these future cars will not be uniform and boring. Will we see wonderful decorated cars such as those belonging to singing stars; Janis Joplin and John Lennon or the artist Pro Hart from the 1960’s and 1970’s?
Now if Apple, Google, Tesla or other major car manufacturers produces a John Lennon robotic look-alike with its safe, yellow base and glorious paintwork, I’d be the first to put up my hand and ‘let it be’.
Until next month, plan and enjoy long distance driving.