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Greg Neft ReportingAmericans are getting too heavy for their cars, and that could have some serious safety consequences.
Automakers certify their cars to a certain weight limit.
AAA's Rolayne Fairclough says when you exceed the weight limit you run into problems. She says, "Either with people or just a load, you put an exorbitant stress on the suspension, on the tires. It makes it more difficult to steer, more difficult to stop."
But if you go by government formulas, many five-passenger cars can barely deal with American's growing girth. According to an article in USA Today, many five-passenger vehicles are rated at about 850 pounds. That means each passenger weighs 170 pounds or less.
The Centers for Disease Control says the average weight for a man is 190 pounds, 163 pounds for women.
The government-mandated warning labels are on all 2006 or newer cars. It lists the maximum weight the vehicle can carry safely. The weight includes passengers and cargo.
You can find a car's weight limit on the driver's side door frame.