Movement for oversized loads is quite a challenge. It requires special equipment to ensure that the loads get to their required destinations in good time and condition. For example, transportation of prefabricated homes is only possible with a flatbed shipment. If you plan an oversized cargo, take note of the load specifications to select the correct truck type, means of transport, and transport measures.
The shipment size and the expected time of arrival for that particular shipment to its destinations are also factors that determine terms like rates from carriers. One thing that should be at the back of our mind is safety, ensuring that you follow the regulation within states and interstate measures and regulations. Employers, heavy equipment movers, and truck drivers need to have the right skills and knowledge to handle oversized and wide loads. As a driver, you are responsible for knowing about your load designs, thus creating an experience. Here are some considerations for oversized loads.
Factors to consider for Oversized and Wide Load Transportation
1. Size of The Shipment
Knowing when a load gets classified as an oversized shipment helps when it is time to move. The thing about weight restrictions is that they are per axle limit. If the ship goes beyond per-axel limits, you will have to adjust to the load to avoid conflict with the local authorities.
Drivers without experience may have trouble determining if the load falls under the oversized classification or not. The load should meet the requirement for oversized and wide loads for it to get classified. Any shipment over 8.5 feet wide is an oversized load. Oversized loads require permits.
As much as this is the case, if after examination, there is a discovery that an oversized load is reducible in size and weight, it does not obtain a permit. So before deciding to become an oversized and wide load operator, it is essential to note those few details first.
2. Flatbed Requirements
All states stipulate the legalities surrounding oversized shipments. There exist well-laid regulations in the equipment guide concerning flatbed trailers. Therefore, drivers and freight managers should familiarize them with expectations. The allowed maximum loads should be 8.5 feet with a maximum height of 102 inches.
The legal length goes up to 53 feet with a maximum weight of 46000 pounds. Of course, there are trucks with a heavier scale, although the standard weight is 46000 pounds. Before moving any oversized and wide loads, it is essential to consult with the state transportation authority to understand what goes on. Knowing these facts about flatbeds should keep you away from trouble with the authorities.
3. Need for Escorts
Some states do not require oversized and wide loads to have escorts, especially if they are less than 10 feet wide. Some other states require tall, oversized loads regardless of their size to have an escort. The number of escort vehicles is dependent on the type and size of the load. The kind of road that the oversized freight will be on determines the number of escort vehicles.
For instance, on undivided highways, there is an escort vehicle at the front of the load. On the other hand, the escort is behind the load on a divided highway. Another requirement for an escort is if an oversized and wide freight is moving at night. For loads measuring ten feet and above, up to an absolute limit, about 14 feet, there is an escort vehicle at the front and behind the load.
If the load does not have an escort vehicle when leaving the station, they will need them in case it is a requirement in some states. In some states, in the case of extra-wide loads, they must have law enforcement escorts such as state police or any other security personnel with similar qualifications. Escorts by police and sheriffs are facilitated financially by the hauling operator.
4. Schedule Restrictions
When it comes to oversized loads, their movement is during daylight hours, which is between a half-hour before sunset and a half-hour before sunrise. The schedules vary from state to state. The size of the load also determines the restrictions. That means that loads that are 10 feet wide can only move in daylight hours while loads less than ten feet wide can move even at night on four-lane highways across state lines.
If there is less traffic also, oversized, and wide loads can move without any restrictions. When moving across state lines, considering all the permit requirements and regulations is essential. There are consequences like fines for failing to adhere to the schedule restrictions across states.
Movement by oversized loads and wide loads during the holidays and weekends also comes with restrictions. Travel stops at noon during holidays on the day preceding the holiday and resume the next day after the holiday. The holiday restriction is because there is a lot of traffic at such times.
5. Understand the Meaning of Markings
Markings on oversized loads are part of the equipment required on those loads. Typically, they are flags, signs, and light essential for alerting other drivers of the load’s edges. Hauling vehicles have a yellow and black sign saying “WIDE LOAD” or a banner spreading across the towing vehicle. Also, there are banners at the back of the load towing vehicle, especially if it extends beyond the hauling truck’s rear.
There are also warning flags, often red or fluorescent orange, attached to the wide load’s back corners. An additional requirement is for more banners to be attached to any protruding edges on the vehicle’s sides and corners. For loads moving at night, amber or red flight should be in similar positions with the flags. The lights also come in when there is minimum visibility, especially in the fog or rain. If the light is not available at such times, drivers are authorized to stop and wait for visibility to resume. Some states demand flashing lights. When trucks are not moving any oversized loads, the signs are not useful. Drivers and operators should meet the requirements or have a prior arrangement made to avoid compromise between states regarding markings.