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Known as a pilot vehicle or escort vehicle, it’s a passenger car or truck that drives ahead of an oversize load in the heavy haul trucking industry. Escort vehicles are equipped with a rotating light on the top of the vehicle and are required to have an oversize load sign prominently displayed to ensure the safety of others on the road, along with the cargo.

Escort Vehicle

An escort driver is utilized when the cargo of a heavy hauler exceeds the height, weight or width of a normal load. The driver of an escort vehicle is in constant communication with the truck driver, providing support and guidance.

Road conditions can change quickly and unexpected construction work is always an ongoing concern. Escort vehicle drivers have a variety of responsibilities. The drivers prevent damage to roads, bridges and other types of infrastructure by the heavy hauler. They must also be insured and have specific certifications.

Escort drivers are responsible for coordinating movement of obstructions such as traffic lights, signage and electric wires. They also connect with law enforcement when needed to direct traffic. Escorts minimize delays by avoiding heavy traffic areas when possible. The vehicle drivers also assist heavy haul drivers safely change lanes, enter traffic and make turns.

The primary responsibility of an escort vehicle driver is to collaborate with the heavy haul driver to keep them apprised of any obstacles or impediments that interfere with the fast and safe delivery of the cargo. The requirements for equipment that escort vehicles must carry vary by state and are based on the dimensions of the oversize load.

Some states require the escort vehicle to be in front of the heavy hauler, while others require them to follow behind the tractor-trailer, and some states require two escort vehicles – one in front and one in the rear. State or local police escorts may be mandated for loads that require a road closure or take up two lanes of road. A height pole car is required on the lead vehicle to measure the height of any obstructions.

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