When pulling over speeding cars, police do not see red

Kilian Parsons

Contributing Writer


Does having a red vehicle make you more likely to get pulled over or have higher insurance rates? It seems every driver, at one point or another, has heard this myth, but could police be targeting vehicles based on their color, or was this just a scheme devised by parents to keep their kids away from sportier cars?

The origins of the myth remain unknown, but the legend of red cars being in the scopes of prying police eyes has its roots in some logic. Red cars stand out more on a busy highway than duller colors, and if matched with an equally flashy body style, it will only add to its draw. Some drivers even speculate that some sort of color optical illusion can take place, giving the appearance that red painted cars are driving faster. As such, many view this as a form of illegal vehicle profiling, one where more tickets mean a higher insurance payment, but it might not be so simple.

The rumor was seemingly disproven by the American Auto Insurance company’s own findings back in 2020, showing that white cars are actually at the top of the ticket pile.

However, there is some conflicting data. A story by CNET’s Brian Cooley, using the same information as the AAI poll, stated that there was at least some truth in the myth. While white cars were indeed the number one for tickets, they also are the most popular color across all vehicles. By correcting the statistics for the amount of tickets versus amount on the road, red was indeed a massive magnet for the police, even taking back that top spot.

In Oklahoma, there seems to be some good news for owners of crimson cars.

“What we look for more isn’t color, but things that may point to you being an at-risk driver.” Said Salena Holle, a State Farm agent. “This can be things like your age, or health… things not associated at all with your vehicle.”

“I heard that [myth] decades ago, but I haven’t seen it come up in my time here,” said another Oklahoma insurance agent, Bill Hawthorne.

Snopes interviewed a Florida Highway Patrol Officer, Sgt. Thomas Miller, about the red car question. 

“It’s not the color of the car that matters, but how fast it’s going,” Miller said.

While there seems to be a steady consensus, it might be best for any potential car buyer out there to contact your local insurance company and get a better picture on just what your car’s color may be costing you.

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