Considerations for Oversized Loads and Wide Loads | Red Arrow Logistics

Shipping an oversize load can be a challenge and require extra precautions during transport.   With larger loads, like prefabricated homes, a flatbed shipment might be in order.  For any oversized shipment, it is important to know the exact specifications of your load so the correct type of truck can be used.  The size of the item as well as how fast it needs to be delivered will be needed in order to get accurate rates from carriers.

Safety during transport is very important as industry and state and local regulations must be followed.  Truck drivers must be experienced in handling these types of loads, as well as knowledgeable about the regulations that must be adhered to.  Making uninformed decisions when it comes to oversized loads could lead to a potentially dangerous situation.

Is My Shipment Oversized?

The first step in shipping a large load is determining if it is indeed oversized.  If you have not dealt with this type of shipment before, you might not know if your shipment should be classified as an oversize load.  A load must meet the regulations and requirements, or you run the risk of getting in trouble with local authorities.  Weight restrictions are calculated per axle, but it is most often the width that makes a load fall into the oversize category. Anything that is over 8.5 feet wide is an oversized load.  Drivers for oversize loads must get a permit for this cargo.

What is the Correct Trailer?

One of the most important decisions is choosing the right trailer based on dimensions.  Flatbeds are useful for large cargo and oversized items that will not fit in a standard shipping container.  Building materials, heavy equipment, tow trucks, and logging trucks are some of the types of items that are transported via flatbeds.  Oversized and oddly shaped items can be transported by securing it to the platform.  Once the load arrives at its destination, it is easy to offload the items.  Flatbeds making transporting oversized items efficient. 

What are the Flatbed Requirements?

Most states in the U.S. have similar limits when it comes to shipping oversize loads.   A flatbed truck is usually 48’ long and up to 53’ long.  The maximum legal height is about 8.5 feet tall and the width is 102 inches.  The weight limit can vary by state but is usually around 46,000 pounds.  However, some trucks can handle heavier loads so checking with your local or regulations is a good idea because not meeting the requirements can result in a fine. 

Do I Need a Travel Escort?

Most states require shipments over 12 feet wide to have a travel escort or pilot vehicle.  The pilot vehicle is responsible for alerting the truck driver like accidents, construction, traffic, or other hazards that require the driver to be aware.  The pilot vehicle also alerts other drivers on the road of the wide load.  The cost for a travel escort will be included in the overall cost of the shipment. 

What Else is Needed?

Other drivers on the road should be aware of an oversized load so all should be clearly marked as a wide or oversized load with labels or writing around the shipment.  A wide load often needs flags or lights on the tractor or trailer to indicate caution.  Red flags and amber lights help to ensure visibility to other traffic.  Travel escorts should also have flags and lights.  An oversized delivery is not difficult to handle on a flatbed, but it should be marked clearly to avoid accidents with other drivers.

Are There Travel Schedule Restrictions?

Oversize loads can travel when it is daylight, including a half-hour before sunrise and a half-hour after sunset.  Most large loads cannot be transported over the weekend or holidays.  As with any type of shipment, long-haul drivers are only allowed on the road for a certain amount of time without a break.  This means that oversize trucking companies must carefully plan each load to meet these guidelines. 

Wide and oversized loads must also have necessary permits.  Since laws vary from state to state, a permit allows you to travel over distances.  Make sure the laws for each state the transport will be going through have been reviewed.

Shipping oversize loads can be difficult since there are many restrictions regarding their transportation.  Working with the right transportation companies can help ensure the transport is done safely.

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