Fire engines should be yellow, says

From: yesinsurance
Published: Fri Nov 16 2007

A call for UK fire engines to be painted yellow rather than red has been issued by insurance provider

The move, which follows research on car colours conducted by at the end of last year, also points to a number of other studies which have indicated that vehicles painted with darker colours such as red are often less visible than those which are yellow.

Lime yellow is highlighted by the insurance provider as one of the safest colours, because of its ability to be more easily spotted during both the day and at night, as well as in snowy conditions when white vehicles are less noticeable.

Over recent years there have been two major scientific investigations of the relationship between car colour and safety (Lardelli-Claret 2002 and Furness et al 2003). Whilst neither was able to propose the selection of one particular colour as the unambiguous best choice for safety, the results did point towards lighter colours such as white and yellow being safer than dark colours.

A separate study of fire fighting equipment (Schuman 1991) stated that red, which is perceived as black at night, is one of the least visible of vehicle colours. The report also pointed out that people have particularly poor peripheral detection of red shades.

Research conducted in September 2006 by yesinsurance among 4,000 motorists also indicated that red was considered to be the most dangerous colour to paint a vehicle.

"Over a third of respondents in our research picked red as the riskiest colour to paint a car, and almost as many chose black," said Paul Purdy, of

"From a car insurance point of view we make no distinctions on colour, but where emergency vehicles are concerned research seems to indicate that lime yellow is the most visible colour," said Paul Purdy.

The preference for lime yellow colouring was also supported by research published in 1995 by Solomon and King, which analysed accident data of different coloured fire vehicles over a four year period in Dallas, USA.

Whilst reflective markings and flashing lights help to highlight emergency vehicles, yesinsurance says that vehicle colour also plays an important role in defining the exact position and shape of a fast moving large vehicle – something which is particularly important for fire engines.

However, some people may resist the move away from red, which is traditionally seen as the appropriate colour for fire vehicles.

"I must admit that red fire engines do tend to look more powerful and macho than those which are painted yellow, but where safety is concerned we really need to consider which is better for visibility," said Paul Purdy. specialises in providing insurance for cars that are over five years old.

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Editors notes.
- is a trading name of yesinsurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
- Insurance policies provided online at are designed to provide competitive car insurance deals for drivers with cars or vans that are over 5 years old, which account for around 60% of all cars currently on the road, as well as home insurance and van insurance policies.

A report on car colour and safety from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an American charity and research organisation, which contains further information on the Llardelli-Claret, Furness, and Schuman research projects, can be found at:

A summary of the Solomon and King study on fire engine accidents can be found at:

For further information, please contact:
yesinsurance PR contact:
Paul Purdy
Lakeside House
Hebble Brook Business Park
Hays lane
West Yorkshire
Tel: 01422 232528
Registered number: 5545310 England.
Registered Office: As above
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority

Company: yesinsurance
Contact Name: Paul Purdy
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Contact Phone: 01422 232528

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