Debunking the Myth: Do Red Cars Really Get Pulled Over More Often?

Ever wondered if your red car makes you a target for traffic cops? You’re not alone. It’s a common belief that red cars get pulled over more often.

This notion has been around for years, creating a sense of unease for red car owners. But is it fact or fiction? Let’s delve into this intriguing topic and uncover the truth.

We’ll explore various studies and statistics to provide you with a comprehensive answer. So, buckle up as we hit the road on this fascinating journey.

Key Takeaways

  • The longstanding belief that red cars get pulled over more frequently is largely a myth not substantiated by comprehensive data.
  • Reports from CIS Insurance group and show that black and gray cars receive more traffic citations than red cars, often due to their higher prevalence on the roads.
  • The association of red cars with more traffic violations can be traced back to historical perceptions and popular culture, including their prevalence in high-speed car chases in movies and TV shows.
  • Data shows that the color of your car may indeed influence safety and visibility, with black cars bearing the highest risk of being in accidents and white cars being the safest; red cars fall in the middle.
  • Factors influencing traffic stops extend beyond car color, such as type of vehicle, driver’s behavior, visibility in different lighting conditions, and location and time of the driving.
  • Insurance companies don’t consider car color while determining rates, as it’s more about the car model, year, engine size, and the driving record of the insured.

The belief that red cars get pulled over more often is widely held, but it’s more myth than reality. Car and Driver examines statistics to debunk this misconception, showing no significant correlation between car color and the frequency of being pulled over. discusses how factors other than color, such as the make and model of the car, are more likely to affect ticketing rates. To further explore this topic, MotorBiscuit analyzes how vehicle type and driver behavior contribute to police stops more than color.

Exploring the Myth

So, let’s dive straight into this popular belief. Where did this notion that red cars attract more traffic tickets come from? Often, it’s connected to the idea that red stands out, is often associated with sports cars, and is even said to incite aggressive behavior.

Back to your red car sitting in the driveway, though – is it really a magnet for traffic tickets? Well, wouldn’t you like to know?

Deciphering fact from fiction requires data, and data we have. Thanks to various studies, we’ve got some objective insights.

In 2013, the CIS Insurance group crunched numbers on color-specific car citations. Hefty data sets from several American states and even international sources went through their confirmation process.

The outcome might surprise you.

Here’s a quick peek at some noticeable stats from their study:

Car ColorPercentage of Citations

Yes, red did not take the lead, rather it’s the ever-popular black car.

Remember, correlations don’t make causes. The totals of each color also depend on the number of those colored cars on the road. If there are more black cars, it makes sense they’d receive a larger total number of tickets.

These are interesting twists on an age-old tale. Do they prove or disprove anything definitively? What do you think? After all, it’s your red car we’re talking about here – right in the middle of the spotlight.

Historical Perceptions

Let’s dive a bit into the historical perception attached to red cars. Did you know that the association of red cars and traffic violations dates back to as early as the 20th century? Back in the day, red was a much more pronounced color, often associated with fiery passion and exhilarating speed. Even the choice of color for the earliest Ferrari models wasn’t an accidental choice. Enzo Ferrari opted for the color rosso corsa, or racing red, as a symbol of speed, power, and danger.

Further association of red cars with speed and recklessness grew exponentially with movies and popular culture. TV shows and movies featuring high-speed chases almost always had a blazing red car at the center of the action. From the red Ferrari in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to the red Porsche in “Risky Business,” media representation reinforced the idea red equals speed equals danger.

According to a study conducted in 2013 by the Monash University Accident Research Centre, the color of your car does have an impact on your likelihood of being involved in an accident. The study found that white cars were considerably safer than black, and interestingly, red cars fell somewhere in the middle of the graph.

Here’s a look at the data derived from the study:

Car ColorAccident Risk

This perception, combined with the previous societal assumptions, feeds into the pervasive myth that red cars get pulled over more often. Yet, as we’ve discovered with our look at the CIS Insurance Group study, the reality is different. Unfortunately, these deep-seated beliefs persist, largely influenced by the cultural representations and symbolisms attached to the color red.

Studies and Findings

When you delve into the world of actual data, rather than relying on age-old tales, you encounter some fascinating findings. It seems that the color of a car may indeed influence safety and visibility on the road, but perhaps not in the way you might expect.

A study by Monash University in 2013 indeed unveiled that, contrary to popular belief, it’s actually black cars that bear the highest risk of being in an accident. On the other hand, the champions of safety were white cars, falling at the lowest end of the risk spectrum. So where did red cars land? They nestled comfortably in the middle.

This research supports the earlier 2007 study in New Zealand, which found black cars to be 12% more likely to be involved in a serious crash during daylight than white cars.

Another widespread belief is that red cars might get pulled over more frequently. To debunk this myth, many studies have been undertaken. Remember the research that smashed the stereotype. Their findings were quite the opposite. It was determined that red cars made up a mere 14% of their traffic violation data, with gray cars leading at 25%.

Here’s a peek at some intriguing data:

Car ColorAccident RiskTraffic Violation

Taken together, these studies shatter the myth of the notorious red car bringing unwanted attention. Instead, they shift focus towards factors that offer measurable impact, such as vehicle type, driver’s age and time of travelling. It does seem then that behind the wheel, it’s more about who you are and how you drive, than the color of your car.

Though, perception is powerful. And maybe that’s why red cars still hold a certain degree of mystery, excitement and, yes, assumed danger attached to them. After all, color has a way of stirring our emotions and it’s red that symbolizes passion and speed! Nevertheless, let’s not let the legends overshadow the facts. This merely underlines the importance of making informed decisions based on research and statistics, rather than fiction.

Factors Influencing Traffic Stops

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: traffic stops. There’s often an implied direct connection between car color and traffic stops. However, several underlying factors influence these incidents, and it’s pivotal to note the obscurity of the stats around this topic.

First things first, the type of vehicle you’re driving directly influences how often you may be pulled over. It seems cops are more likely to pull over certain types of vehicles. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that drivers of sport cars are ticketed more often than those driving minivans. Perhaps it’s the connotation that sport cars are associated with speed-loving drivers while minivans suggest a family and therefore, a more cautious driver.

Another important factor to consider is driver behavior. Traffic violations such as speeding, reckless driving or not wearing a seatbelt are major reasons why drivers get pulled over. Regardless of the color of your car, if you’re transgressing traffic laws, you’re bound to catch the police’s eye.

Visibility in different light conditions also plays a significant role. Studies have found that lighter-colored cars are more visible in low light conditions compared to darker ones. That could explain why, as found in the Monash University study, black cars have a higher accident rate compared to white cars.

Moreover, location and time of the day also significantly contribute to traffic stops. Areas with high accident rates, times when drunk driving is prevalent make you more susceptible to being pulled over.

Addressing the myth of red cars and traffic stops, the color of your car could have a minimal influence at best. As per the New Zealand study, red cars don’t fall on either extreme end – they are neither the safest nor the riskiest. Remember, the cops are more interested in your driving habits rather than your car color. The color of your car may add some spice to its aesthetics, but it’s ultimately your driving habits that keep you safe on the road.

Debunking the Myth

How often have you heard this rumor? Red cars are ticket magnets! But let’s cut through the hearsay and dive into the facts.

Interestingly, recent investigations into whether red cars are more likely to get pulled over than vehicles of other colors reveal some surprising data. According to these findings, the color of your car does not particularly influence your chances of finding yourself ensnared in a traffic stop. Essentially, it’s not so much about the color but more about the conduct.

You might wonder, “What about those statistics that suggest red cars show up more in traffic tickets?” Let’s tackle this. A notable study by the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills scrutinizes the prevalence of different colored vehicles in 925 traffic citations. Here’s what was found:

Car Color% of Tickets Issued

As you can see, red cars weren’t topping the list. Silver and white cars took the leads. It’s crucial, however, to remember a variable that wasn’t considered in this data: the overall number of vehicles for each color on the roads.

Something else that takes the heat off red is that insurance companies don’t consider car color while determining rates. If red cars were truly prone to more traffic violations or higher accident stats, wouldn’t insurers charge more to cover them? But they don’t. What pulls focus in these determinations is the car model, year, engine size, and the driving record of the insured.

So lighten up about the whole red-car-being-a-cop-magnet idea. It’s really your driving habits that turn the scales. Whether you’re driving a fire-engine red sports car or a snow-white minivan, it’s what’s under your foot and the rules of the road that really matter. The need for maintaining safe driving practices just can’t be stressed enough. The color of your car isn’t nearly as important.

Perhaps the focus should not be on the color of our cars but the color of our driving habits.


So, you’ve learned that the color of your car, even if it’s red, doesn’t make you a magnet for traffic tickets. It’s the model, year, engine size, and most importantly, how you drive that really matter. Just remember, whether your ride is red, white, silver, or any other color, it’s your driving habits that keep you safe on the road. And when it comes to insurance rates, rest easy knowing your car’s color isn’t hiking up your premiums. Drive safe, stay alert, and let’s put this color myth to bed once and for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do red cars get pulled over more frequently?

No, red cars do not necessarily get pulled over more frequently. Recent investigations suggest the color of a car does not significantly influence the chances of being stopped on the road.

2. Which cars receive more tickets according to studies?

According to several studies, silver and white cars reportedly receive more tickets than red cars.

3. Do insurance companies base their rates on the color of a car?

No, insurance companies do not base their premium rates on the color of the car. They mainly consider factors such as the car model, year, engine size, and the owner’s driving record.

4. What should the focus be for road safety?

The focus for increased road safety should primarily be on observing safe driving practices rather than the color of the car.