Before we get into some of the more common rules you will face when hauling an oversized load, we should probably clarify the answer to the commonly asked question, “What is an oversized load?” Well, in the U.S., an overweight load is either a vehicle or cargo which measures wider than 8 foot 6 inch and has a gross weight over 80,000 pounds. Each state will have their own set of requirements for the handling of wide load transports so its important to be aware of each states requirements to avoid any potential issues.

Because of this reason, and certainly many others, it can become very tricky when trying to maneuver through this unique world of oversized hauling particularly when you are dealing with the transport of incredibly large and dangerous freight like tractors, oversized shipping containers, and heavy construction equipment just to name a few.

Rules For Hauling Oversized Loads

During the initial preparation for any wide load transport, it’s important to be aware of your cargos exact weight and dimensions in order to arrange for the proper type of trailer needed.

Know the legal limits for oversized loads. Although most of these legal limits have been pretty well documented, for an exact guide please see here. Basically, just remember that the max wide load measures 8 foot 6 inches with a max gross weight of 80,000 pounds.

How do I know if I have an oversized load? These wide load restrictions are based on each axle and although an oversized load transport must be under the weight limit, coincidently the axles are allowed to be over their respective weight limits. The most common reason you will encounter a load being considered “wide load” is simply because its width has gone over the legal 8 foot  5 inch limit. Anything going beyond 12 feet in width will likely require 1-2 escort vehicles to accompany the wide load transport safely.

Understanding when you will be required to use escort vehicles. In the majority of states, anytime you have an oversized load being transported with a width over 12 feet in length, you will be required to have escort vehicles accompany the transport which will have additional costs associated in addition to the standard per mile rates, all of which will be factored into the entire cost of the transport.

Auto transportation requires a lot of logistical planning, and this is especially true for oversize vehicles, such as trailers. Oversized vehicles commonly fall into more than one category of over-dimension, requiring special permits and additional route planning. Here are some common hurdles that must be taken into account beforehand when shipping oversized vehicles.

Can oversize loads travel at night? As it is with the majority of states, the transport of wide loads can only take place during certain times. Transports can typically begin 30 minutes before sunrise and cease right after the sun sets and during weekdays only as most states prohibit oversize loads from being transported on weekends or holidays. So NO, oversized loads are most often unable to be transported at night.

Oversize permits by state. Before any wide load transports can begin, the necessary permits will need to be pulled. Each state being crossed will need its own specific permit together with the routes being mapped out ahead of time. All of these points including the list of driving restrictions involved can make the process tedious at best which is why you need to find an experienced company that specializes in wide load transport.

Additional Warning Requirements. Oversized Load Transports will also be required to display either bright red or orange warning flags along with amber or red warning lights.