Did you know that “school bus yellow” is a real color? You might not find this in a box of crayons, but it is what our thousands of buses transporting millions of school going kids are painted with!
The Federal law in the US requires the school buses to be painted in “school bus yellow” as a matter of safety, in addition to flashing lights and other safety measures. Before the standard school bus yellow color, these buses were originally painted with a pure yellow that is closer to the color of a lemon.
What’s with the fixation with the color yellow?
Today’s school bus yellow is not pure yellow neither pure orange. It’s a mix of the two, with yellow dominating the other and creating a color similar the scrumptious pulp of a mango.
The standard color was established in 1939 when Dr. Frank W. Cyr organized a conference that set standards for U.S. school buses, which included the “school bus yellow” color, which was back then called “National School Bus Chrome.” The reason for the choice is because it is more eye grabbing and attractive than any other color.
Research has proven that even if a person is looking straight ahead, our eyes can grab a yellow object that is not even directly in front of us and lies in our “peripheral field.” In fact, people can spot yellow objects in the peripheral field 1.24 times better than red, which comes in the second place for being the most eye-catching color. Yellow also has another number on red as it can be more easily noticed in the dark.
Also. the black lettering on the yellow background is the easier to spot for drivers in dimly lit early mornings when students are usually being picked up for schools!