A Fly In My Eye: Are We Color Blind? Yes We Are!

It was midnight. Rainy Saturday night felt so nice and calm. I was just standing there, minding my own business. Suddenly, a strong thrust to my rear shatters the stillness. I look back. There were two of them and they had just plowed into my rear end. Now that was awkward. Oh, this is not the beginning of a porno story. It’s about a car crash – they crashed the front part of their car into the rear part of my car, to avoid any misunderstandings.

I bought my first new car in October 2007. It was all shiny and new, it smelled nice and it was spacious and clever, it could think for itself and it could run without something going wrong. It was my dream come true, my ticket to freedom, my Millennium Falcon except disguised as a Renault Megane station wagon. It was black. That moment, that brief fraction of October 2007, will later on teach me a valuable lesson in life.

Having a traffic accident or two in your lifetime is OK, and OK by any standard. Having a few more crashes than that is OK too, because today’s roads are simply Japanese-subway-crammed with cars, trucks, buses and whatnot and colliding with other particles in that pressure pot is inevitable really. But there is a catch. You see, some particles are more likely to be hit by other particles. On the other hand, some particles are the least likely to be hit by other particles and people smarter than me have noticed that some time ago. They have even published scientific studies on the subject. Why it is then that nobody had informed me of that, that October 2007? Why is it that information like that is not circulating among us, the internally-combustion- propelled crowd? Why do we have to learn everything the hard way?

My car is black. During our time together, we’ve had an awful lot of accidents, majority of was not by our fault. One time I span off into a roadside ditch and created a bridge over that unfortunate deficit of flat ground. That was that for me contributing to the sum of corporal punishments my pretty little Megane has suffered. Other people have been more expeditious I that regard. The poor guy from my village with a fondness for homemade cough medicine said he never saw me after he used his Paleolithic little FIAT to cut through the thousand dollar option paint of my Megane’s left side. Two girls on a night out, that night from the beginning of this story, rammed their Peugeot in my poor Megane’s backside because, you’ve guessed it, they never saw me. The list could, and sadly probably will go on in the same manner. Thankfully, I think there might be a reason for all that and I think I know how I could stop that, and it does not include chicken legs or dried bat wings. But it is of the dark side, though.

Google is your friend, and you should turn to your friends in times of need. So I did. I tried searching for a link between the color of my invisible car and the probability of a traffic accident. And there it was – the bluish results page, saying that I’m not really mad and that there really is a connection between the color of your car, the visibility of your car that is, and the probability of you being an obstacle in some guy’s path. Only a few of the results had shown some credibility in the split-second eye strafing test. The rest were just the usual casserole of commercials and other internet material. The ones that survived the initial elimination round were pointing at the same conclusion – the least safe color for your vehicle is black. No matter what the weather conditions were, no matter where you drive, the black vehicle is statistically more probable to be used for target practice by others. That probability is diminished by worsened visibility on the roads such darkness would induce, or heavy rain and fog. But in those worsened conditions, some other colors start showing their true colors. For instance, in the dark, the red is perceived as black. Furthermore, the silver and grayish colors turn invisible during foggy weather. In fact, the only color, the sole color that truly makes someone or something to stand out in the traffic, to be visible to others is the plain old white. The only one that comes close to white is yellow. And we hit a problem.

All the research that helped me become a bit wiser on the color safety had the one thing in common – none of them included motorcycles in their research data. Majority of the data were cars and the rest were the other four or more wheeled vehicles. So how can this help us motorcyclists become safer out there in the battlefield. Maybe these simple steps can help:

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