Red Cars Really Aren’t More Likely to Get Stolen

Red is one car color that has consistently remained popular over the years and is found on every type of vehicle from minivans to sports cars. It would probably be even more desirable if it weren’t for the notion that red cars get pulled over more often and are also more likely to be stolen.

Is there any truth to these urban legends, or are they merely a figment of collective imagination? Here’s some information that will help you decipher fact from fiction.

Likelihood of theft for red vehicles

Many people believe that red cars are more attractive to thieves than others. However, numerous studies reveal that is not at all the case. In fact, red is probably one of the least attractive shades because it tends to stand out more. As such, the likelihood that someone will notice an individual driving a stolen car is much greater. Most car thieves would rather not call attention to themselves, and will likely skip red automobiles and target black, white, or silver ones instead.

A study from CCC Information Services backs up this notion, revealing that silver cars are stolen most often, followed by white and then black. Aside from maintaining a low profile, another reason those cars are so high on the list is that they are also very plentiful. Silver, black, and white account for the majority of vehicles on the road, meaning that criminals will have plenty of targets to choose from.

Red cars are not on the list

Red BMW automobile parked below a retaining wall in Lafayette, California, February 5, 2020
A red BMW | Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The results of the CCC study showed that red cars did not make the top five at all. Coming in at No. 4 on the list was gold, followed by green at No. 5. Gold was thought to be attractive because it invokes a feeling of luxury; however, researchers were not really sure why perpetrators were attracted to green.

Just because red did not make the list does not mean that scarlet-colored cars are never stolen. Rather, it only indicates that they are probably not the extreme theft risk that many people believe them to be.

Getting pulled over

Another legend concerning red cars is that they are pulled over more often. How does this myth hold up? It seems that there may actually be some truth to this notion. Researchers collected data from more than 942 speeding citations and discovered that red cars accounted for 16 percent of all traffic citations. Only white cars were pulled over more often.

There’s a simple explanation as to why drivers of red cars may receive more tickets. One is that police officers are more likely to notice red cars speeding or committing other violations. Accordingly, they may pull them over more frequently, even if they are not specifically targeting red autos.

The psychology of color can play a role in this as well. For example, red is often associated with action and adventure and is used in promotional materials to spark attention. Accordingly, some believe that individuals are more prone to taking risks when they are driving a red car. This, in turn, could account for more police officers writing tickets to those in red vehicles. This is especially true if an officer has seen a pattern of recklessness among motorists in crimson autos.

There’s not much to worry about

If you are considering a red vehicle, there is no need to be overly concerned about auto theft. At the same time, you should remain more cautious of your surroundings so as not to get pulled over. So long as you drive cautiously and take the necessary precautions against theft, you can enjoy owning nearly any type of red automobile.