Hauling Wide Loads and Oversize Loads: Important Questions to Consider

Hauling wide loads or oversize loads can be a daunting challenge. There are many variables you must consider prior to taking on these jobs: permits, route selection, required truck and bed size, pilot cars, cargo securement equipment, and of course, oversize load/wide load banners and signage

Because wide load and oversize load regulations vary from state to state, the preparation required to haul these loads can often be more work than the haul itself.

 

What Makes a Shipment a Wide Load or Oversize Load? 

hauling oversize wide loads

Because these tires can’t be broken down into smaller parts, they must be hauled as an oversize load.

First, understand that a load is considered oversized based on either its width or weight. If your shipment is over on either measurement it is considered oversize. If your load meets all weight limits, but not width limits, it is considered a wide load.

Generally, if your vehicle or load is wider than 8’6″ you will need wide load permits. Legal length is usually 48′ to 53′, and maximum weight is about 46,000 pounds. However, this varies by state. Some states measure by the overall length while others only use kingpin to rear axle length.

For a comprehensive list of regulations by state, see our Wide Load and Oversize Load Banner Requirements by State post

If your shipment can be broken down into smaller or lighter parts, you will probably not be able to obtain wide load or oversize load permits.

 

When do Wide Loads and Oversize Loads Require Pilot Vehicles? 

oversize loads pilot car

Depending on your load size and route details, civilian or police escorts may be required.

If your shipment exceeds a 12′ width you may need one to two pilot vehicles. These vehicles will be able to warn you of any accidents, construction zones, bridges, low wires, or other upcoming hazards.  

Remember, many states only allow you to travel with pilot vehicles from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. 

 

How Many Safety Flags, Oversize Load Signs, and Wide Load Banners do you Need? 

Again, this all depends on the size of your shipment. Generally, you need red safety flags on all four corners of your tractor trailer and amber warning lights up top to meet visibility requirements.  

Also, you will most likely need oversize load signs or wide load banners in both the front and rear of your vehicle. If you have pilot vehicles with you, they may also need flags and lights. Keep in mind that many states restrict or prohibit oversize loads during the holidays and over weekends.

 

Be Prepared for Oversize Load and Wide Load Hauling 

With the proper planning, oversize load and wide load hauling become much more manageable. The next time you need the proper flags, banners, lighting, or signage for oversize load or wide load hauling, US Cargo Control can help get you what you want, when you need it. 

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