In case there weren’t enough reasons for overweight people to shed their extra pounds you can add another one to that laundry list. Morbidly obese individuals are 56 percent more likely to die in car crashes than normal-weight people.
Why are automobile wrecks so much more dangerous for the obese? Well, part of it has to do with underlying health issues, things like heart disease, cancer or diabetes (pronounced die-uh-beet-us… ask Wilfred Brimley). Even problems like sleep apnea, a condition that causes someone stops breathing during the night can lead to daytime fatigue, increasing the risk of a crash.
Another problem is the seat belt. Severely overweight people often have issues with the restraints, wearing them improperly or not at all. This makes a dangerous situation even more volatile.
Beyond health issues today’s vehicles simply aren’t designed to protect super-sized people in wrecks. Have you ever seen an obese crash-test dummy? The units in use today were designed way back in 1976. In fact the male dummy weighs a featherweight 172.3 pounds, the female model just 108.
It’s obvious that crash-test dummies do not accurately represent today’s drivers, not when roughly 36 percent of American adults are obese.
But it’s not just an increased risk for morbidly obese individuals. Even folks that are just moderately obese face increased danger. They’re 21 percent more likely to perish.
Women also get the shaft. Morbidly obese female drivers are nearly twice as likely to die in a severe crash compared to their morbidly obese male counterparts.
So, when it comes to car crashes thinner is clearly better… but not in every instance. Curiously underweight people are more likely than normal-weight folks to die in a severe wreck. Slightly overweight drivers are actually the safest, probably because they have a little extra padding than someone that’s emaciated but without the health problems of an obese individual.
With fully a third of all American adults falling into the obese category crash safety for heavy individuals is a weighty problem that’s not going away anytime soon.