Which car brands have the highest number of accidents?
By analyzing data from the Belgian road safety institute (IBSR/BIVV) and car importers federation FEBIAC, according to newspaper La Dernière Heure it looks like Seat, Volkswagen and Ford drivers tend to have more crashes on Belgian roads than others. Other studies show that cars painted in dark colours also present a bigger risk and young drivers in a red Golf GTi are the most ‘aggressive’.
With 5.266 recorded crashes in 2016, Volkswagen is clearly the brand with the most accidents in Belgium, according to IBRS/BIVV. Obviously because the German car maker is also the most represented on Belgian soil with 624.916 cars, or about 11% of Belgium’s car park.
Therefore, if the proportionally part of a certain car brand on the road is compared to the number of crashes, the German car maker loses its first place to Spain. Seat drivers have proportionally been implicated in more accidents than others: 10,35 crashes for 1.000 cars or 10,35%.
VW falls back to the second place with 8,42 crashes per 1.000 cars closely followed by Ford (7,84). The rest of the top ten is only slightly less implicated with Renault (7,81%), Smart (7,74%), Opel (7,63%), Citroën (7,31%), Fiat (7,30%), Chevrolet (7,29%) and Audi (7,26%). BMW and Mercedes who commonly were believed to have the more ‘aggressive’ drivers are respectively in 13th and 24th place.
“Of course we could think that a BMW has more accidents than a Citroën because it is more powerful. But don’t forget that in terms of road safety, the weakest link is the driver”, explains Benoît Godart, IBSR/BIVV spokesperson, “pointing to a certain brand makes no sense because everyone is susceptible to have an accident whatever the car”.
Grey or dark cars: more risks
“When buying a car, people sometimes ask themselves what is the safest car colour?”, says Benoît Godart. Because in Belgium there is no data registered on the colour of a car having an accident, the IBSR/BIVV used data from an Australian study on 850.000 car crashes over 13 years.
Grey cars present the biggest risks. In 2016, one of their studies showed that grey cars had been implicated in 32,3% of physical injuries accidents against 23,3% for black cars, 11,4% for white ones and 10,8% for those painted blue.
Conclusions show that white cars are the least likely to have an accident. On the other hand, dark and red cars present more risks. The study shows that black cars have 12% more risk to have an accident than white one, the comes grey cars (11%), silver (10%) and red (7%). At night, the risk can go as high as 47% for black cars.
“A yellow or green car can have an advantage on other cars even if it isn’t the primary element. Other factors influence way more the risk of accidents, like alcohol, speed, and tiredness”, adds Benoît Godart, “but certain colours are more visible in traffic and it decreases the risk”.
Brand and colour influences aggressiveness
The BRSI also used a study by Cambridge University’s psychologist Graham Davies on driver’s aggressiveness. He has created an “aggressiveness scale” in witch the car’s brand, model and colour has been indexed from 1 to 7 depending on the aggressiveness that interrogated car drivers would associate to it. Results: a beige Citroën 2CV driven by an old lady is the least aggressive combination, but a young male driving a red Golf GTI is seen as one of the most aggressive drivers.
His study shows that cars are never simply seen as ‘objects.’ Their are chosen, often unconsciously to reflect the driver’s personality, or the one they wished they had.