When it comes to shipping oversized items, each state has different provisions. Therefore, it is vital to understand the legal requirements for every state. Flatbed shipments are among the trickiest loads to transport. If you are moving any flatbed loads such as steel beams, tractors, bulldozers or prefabricated homes, make sure you know the exact weight and dimension of your shipment. With this information, you can be able to choose the most appropriate means of transportation, while ensuring the goods arrive safely to the customer. Here are key considerations to make when transporting oversized loads.
The need-to-know information about oversized loads
- Understand the legal limits
The legal requirements for oversized loads are properly documented in every state. Each state has a unique equipment guide, with all the details related to flatbed trailers. In general terms, the maximum height limit is 102 inches while the maximum load width is 102 inches. Legal length is usually 48 to 53 feet while the maximum weight is approximately 46,000 pounds. If your shipment moves across different states, then you need to consult the involved transportation departments to be on the safe side.
- Determine if your shipment is oversized
Weight restrictions are applied based on per axle. Therefore, a shipment may not go beyond the total weight limit. However, it can exceed the per-axle limits. This means that you only need to make slight load adjustments to stay on the legal side and eliminate the need for special permits. Width is one of the main measurements that makes most shipments oversized. Anything beyond 8.5 feet wide is also considered oversized.
- Understand the rules of travel escorts
In most states, shipments beyond 12 feet require pilot vehicles or travel escorts. Apart from the travel rates, shippers have to pay for hotels and other expenses incurred by the travel escorts. Their main role is forewarning flatbed drivers of any incidents or special circumstances such as constructions, bridges, traffic jams, low wires, as well as other risks that may affect careful driving. They also alert the public of the presence of oversized vehicles.
Choose Your Schedule Carefully
In most jurisdictions, oversized loads accompanied by travel escorts can only be on the road 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. No driving of oversize vehicles is allowed on the weekends or holidays. It is therefore important to obtain all the permits for each state traversed as well as the specific routes. All these restrictions will surely affect the driver’s schedule.
Understand Special Markings
Oversized shipments on the road must have special markings and flags. For example, amber lights and red flags are a requirement to ensure visibility to other road users. Also, pilot vehicles must also have lights or red flags.