Almost everyone has seen a vehicle with a sign and flashing lights driving down a highway in front a tractor-trailer combination. Sometimes there’s also a similar vehicle behind the rig. Those are escort vehicles, sometimes known as pilot vehicles, and they have a very specific purpose.

A Visible Alert

One of the roles of an escort vehicle is to warn motorists of the presence of the heavy hauler. They also provide support for the heavy haul driver. They’re in constant communication with the truck driver to warn them of any changes in road conditions or hazards such as accidents or weather that affects the heavy haul driver.

One or Two Escorts

The size and type of the load will determine if one or two escort vehicles are required. The number of escort vehicles will also be reliant upon whether the load is being transported on a divided or undivided highway. Escort vehicles are an essential safety measure.

Other Ways They Help

Escort vehicles warn traffic when a heavy hauler needs to change lanes, when there’s a narrow bridge, low overpass, or high traffic area. An escort vehicle also has the authority to stop traffic and direct movement of an oversize load, and request a local police escort or assistance.

Florida Rules

The Sunshine State requires escort drivers to hold a Florida State certification or FDOT authorization. Heavy haulers often travel through multiple states, each with its own set of rules and regulations governing escort vehicles. In Florida, escort vehicles are required to have a variety of equipment that includes a two-way communication device, reflective triangles, signage that meets specifications set forth by the state, a fire extinguisher, and other equipment mandated by state and federal regulations.

Safety is No. 1

The safety of the heavy hauler and their load is the top priority for escort vehicles. They provide support, assist and guide heavy haul drivers throughout the transportation journey.

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