In hotshot trucking, transporting an oversize load is inevitable.

Transporting oversize and wide loads is a difficult task that demands highly competent and experienced carriers with specialized handling and shipping equipment. Additionally, transporting heavy items across short or long distances is a procedure filled with regulatory and safety restrictions. As a result, many people choose to delegate such arduous duties to experienced heavy haulers in order to ensure seamless, safe, and timely shipping services.

From dispatch to delivery, heavy hauling companies offer to handle the full transportation process. This entails devising a time-saving strategy and obtaining all state permissions required for safe and legal transportation.

However, if you decide to transport oversize and wide loads as a hotshot trucker, especially if you’re just starting to do hotshot trucking, you should consider these five tips first regarding the transportation of oversize and wide loads before you proceed.

One rule of the thumb: When preparing to transfer any flatbed load, knowing the exact dimensions and weight of your shipment is critical in order to plan for the appropriate equipment and meet customer expectations.

1. Know what makes a load “oversize” or “wide”

The width of a load is one factor that determines whether it is oversize or not. One sure thing is any load that exceeds 8.5 feet wide is considered oversize. If the consignment is more than 12 feet wide, at least two pilot cars will be required for safe, timely, and legal transportation. Other common restrictions would classify your cargo as oversize. A height of more than 8.5 feet, a length of more than 50 feet, and a weight of more than 46,000 pounds are among them. The following are some of the most typical types of large loads:

  • Construction equipment such as bulldozers, dump trucks, cranes, and backhoes 
  • Prefabricated and mobile dwellings
  • Agricultural machinery such as tractors
  • Manufacturing equipment conveyors, assembly lines, and grinders
  • Steel beams and pipes used in construction

Generally, the maximum permissible load width is 8.5 feet (102 inches), and the maximum legal load height is 102 inches. The legal length is from 48 to 53 feet, with a maximum weight of 46,000 pounds. Although some trucks are capable of scaling higher weights, the benchmark is usually 46,000 pounds. 

2. Know the requirements for transporting oversize loads

Many states need travel escorts (sometimes known as “pilot vehicles”) for shipments over 12 feet wide. Shippers generally pay for hotels and other incidentals, known as accessorial, in addition to variable per-mile fees, which are included in the overall freight expenses.

The travel escorts’ job is to alert flatbed drivers to specific situations such as accidents, construction zones, bridges, low wires, traffic jams, and other hazards that necessitate cautious driving. They also serve to notify the public that a large vehicle is there. Flags, banners, and lights on the trailer are required while transporting big cargo. Amber lights and red flags are commonly used to make big cargoes more visible to other drivers.

3. Be aware of the time limit for transporting oversized loads and how it can affect your delivery schedule

In most jurisdictions, oversize loads with travel companions are only allowed on the road Monday through Friday from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after dusk. Many states limit or prohibit driving on weekends and holidays.

Before a load hits the road, truckers must get permits for each state visited, as well as specific travel routes. All these considerations, particularly the travel time constraints, pose significant obstacles for shippers attempting to meet deadlines. Take this into consideration when deciding to transport oversize hauls.

4. Learn about the factors that influence the cost of transporting oversize loads

Aside from the standard carrying fees, oversized load permits and travel escorts must be paid. Because the cost of these permits varies by state, it’s difficult to determine shipping costs. The final shipping cost will be determined by the size and nature of the material being transported. You’ll need to be aware of these in order to develop accurate costing estimates for your loads.

5. Always consider safety precautions

When transporting big loads from one area to another, safety is a top priority. This encompasses the hauling team’s safety, your safety, the safety of other road users, the cargo, and the shipping equipment. Flags, signs, and signals that warn other motorists of an approaching wide cargo are among the safety devices required during shipment. Lights on every load corner are essential safety equipment for big loads being transported at night. Always inspect your truck for overall safety if ever you decide to haul oversized and wide hauls.

Final thoughts

Oversized shipments might be difficult to ship, but they are frequently the most efficient way to transport your items from point A to point B. It’s critical to stay knowledgeable about the myriad laws and constraints that govern the transport of large loads. The practices listed above are considered the best and will definitely assist you in ensuring that your oversize loads are legal and safe.