Know your GVW – it’s a payload off your mind!

Time » money » lifeblood of your business. We get that. But there are instances when cutting corners can be more costly to you, your business and other road users. Loading your van over and above the legal limits is one such time.

Volkswagen van research has published findings of a survey proportionate to the three million LCV users on UK roads. The results are astounding.

VW’s findings suggest that more than 50% of light commercial vehicles are overloaded as they take to the road. That, in itself, is a huge improvement compared to DVSA stop checks. Of the 10,000 vans it stops on an annual basis, 93% are carrying too much weight. But it’s still way over any acceptable limit.

Know your payload: a handy visual guide

In order to address the issue, Volkswagen has produced a handy guide to help you find the payload of your vehicle. The infographics are based on their own models, but each has a handy weight reference. If you know the capacity of your van, it will give you an idea of how much you’re safe to carry.

It’s also worth pointing out that payload and GVW are not the same animal. GVW is how much your van weighs including you, your load, petrol, passengers and your packed lunch. Payload is the weight of the load you’re transporting.

You should also take extra care in positioning the payload on the bed of your vehicle. Too high a percentage of the overall load placed in one spot can increase wear on your axle and affect the van’s balance. Not that your vehicle’s likely to topple, but it can affect steering, braking and disproportionate wearing of vehicle components.

Facilities for checking your load are everywhere

On that note, there is no valid excuse for overloading your van. Carrying too much weight can be the catalyst for all manner of hidden dangers coming in to play:

  • vans’ performance features are measured (and marketed) within their designated payloads;
  • steering, braking distance and manoeuvrability are seriously impacted;
  • insurance is invalid for any accidents in which your overloaded vehicle is involved;
    • being overweight needn’t be the cause; just carrying too much will invalidate any claim;
  • with so many more vans over a decade old on the UK’s roads, the cost to repair wear and tear caused by overloading will be astronomical over the lifetime of your vehicle.

So it’s not just DVSA being pernickety. There are valid reasons for ensuring you’re driving within your vehicle’s GVW.

Still not sure how and where you can check out your payload? The government has a page dedicated to helping commercial vehicle drivers find their nearest weighbridge. That’s well worth bookmarking for drivers who collect loads from anywhere in the country.

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