An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park

I just bought my fourth white car in a row. White can be boring, I know, but several studies I’ve read have shown white cars to be more visible than darker ones, and less likely to be involved in crashes.

Not that it can’t happen: in 1974, while waiting to make a left turn in a white AMC Javelin, I was run over by a tractor-trailer truck that came barreling over the hill behind me and couldn’t stop in time. In that case, color wouldn’t have mattered.

Nor, I suspect, did it really matter that I was driving a burgundy-colored Oldsmobile on the day a drunken driver crossed the center line and crashed into us, killing my daughter and leaving me with lots of broken bones.

Still, I’ve never bought anything but white cars since then, or anything that didn’t have as many air bags and safety features as I could afford. The first was a Dodge Intrepid with flashy sport wheels that came with what I thought was a safer suspension. The next was an Oldsmobile Intrigue that outlasted Oldsmobile. After that I bought a Chevy Malibu, and now the future of Chevrolet is as uncertain as the electronics in the car, which had become so unreliable after 117,000 miles that I no longer trusted it.

Looking for better mileage and a smaller carbon footprint, I traded it for a Toyota Prius: with the 2010 models coming out soon, 2009s were finally selling at a discount. Like the last three cars, it’s as white as they make them: I want other drivers to see me coming. Here’s hoping that, like the last three, it will remain undented.

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