What Kentucky Drivers Should Know About Gross Combined Weight Ratings

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There are several acronyms listed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, and you may not know what all of them mean. If you plan to go on the road in Kentucky, towing a trailer, you’d better know your vehicle’s gross combined weight rating, or GCWR.

What Is the GCWR?

According to the Ford Motor Company, your vehicle’s GCWR is the total of the following:

  • The vehicle’s listed curb weight
  • Total cargo weight
  • Weight of the driver and all passengers
  • Trailer weight

To put it another way, it’s the sum of total tow vehicle weight, including cargo (which is the gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR), plus total trailer weight and cargo.

Why Is the GCWR Important?

The GCWR determines the maximum weight at which you can drive your vehicle and any attached trailers safely. How does the weight affect safe driving?

If you overload the vehicle that is doing the towing or the one being towed, you sacrifice the control of the vehicles that is necessary to maneuver and brake safely. Also, you put a strain on the vehicles that may cause mechanical systems to fail; for example, as listed by How Stuff Works,

  • Brakes may overheat and not respond properly
  • Tires may generate too much heat, increasing the risk of a blowout
  • The engine and transmission may overheat, resulting in a mechanical failure
  • Components in the suspension systems of both the tow vehicle and the trailer could bend or break, causing the driver to lose control

If you have been injured in a Louisville truck crash, get yourself a Jefferson County accident attorney. Call Gray and White Law at 502-210-8942 or toll-free at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.