Car accidents are caused by any number of things—drunk driving, inattentiveness, road rage, and sleepiness are just some of the more common reasons why people end up with mangled vehicles and personal injuries. But even if you’re sober, paying close attention to the road, and actively avoiding rogue cars, you may still be at risk if you’re obese enough.
That’s right: A study from researchers at the University of Laval, which drew on research from 75 past medical studies looking at the links between driving and obesity, found that morbidly obese drivers have an increased risk of crashing because of weight-related health issues.
One excerpt explains: "Poor car-to-person fit is thought to be the leading cause of the increased risk of injury and fatality in (motor vehicle collisions) for persons who are obese or overweight versus persons who are normal weight. … For all those individuals that have a body structure different than (the nominal standard) their interactions with the safety features, such as the seat belts and airbags, may not occur as intended."
The world isn’t going to slim down in the immediate future. Our eating habits aren’t getting any better, and they’re spreading to places that previously had few problems with junk food consumption. So perhaps it’s time for automakers to design vehicles with heavier passenger weights in mind.
And hopefully, more people will be protected from health-related auto accidents in the future thanks to innovations like Toyota’s steering wheel that can detect heart attacks.