Did you know that the tires on your vehicle are most likely rated at being able to carry passengers who weigh no more than 150 to 170 lbs? Check the driver's side door frame sticker (on cars 2006 and newer), that will give you the maximum load capacity for your vehicle (my Grand Caravan can carry six people but would be maxed out if they all weighed 200 lbs each). Most 5 passenger vehicles are rated at about 850 lbs (170 lb average per passenger). If your tires fail and you have over-loaded your vehicle, you aren't going to be able to sue the tire manufacturer for making bad tires (thank you Firestone for recalling tires that failed due to overloading in 2000).
Most cars are made for people who weigh no more than 150 lbs, even though the average weight for men is 190 lbs, and for women, 163 lbs.
I can vouch for this, as I have owned many different makes and models of cars in the last 35 years. Up until the 80's, I never had a problem fitting in any car I owned (and they ranged from Pintos to a 1989 Pontiac Catalina). The ones I bought that were manufactured in the 90's however, were another story. The only ones I was comfortable in were the 1990 and 1992 Chrysler New Yorkers I owned. My Dodge Shadow was a pain in the ass to get in and out of and the seat belt barely fit. My Plymouth Acclaim was the same (and it was bigger than the Shadow). I traded the Acclaim in on a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. Now that one fits me to a tee. It's easy to get in and out of, I have room between my belly and the steering wheel, I have leg room (my inseam is 31", so I have long legs), and the seat belt fits me with room to spare even when I'm wearing a bulky winter coat.
You would think that with the obesity epidemic hysteria going on that car manufacturers would make sure that their cars could carry passengers that are at least the average weight, if not heavier. After all, they tout the safety of their vehicles in collisions, and part of what happens in a collision can be exacerbated by a heavier load than the vehicle is rated to carry. How many of us have looked at the load rating on a vehicle we purchased, if it wasn't a truck?
I know from now on that will be one of the things I look at when purchasing a vehicle. And I will ask questions of the salesman about the safety of fat people in whatever car I'm looking at purchasing. After all, I'm fat, not about to get thin in this lifetime, and I sure as hell want to be as safe as I can be in whatever I'm driving.