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Many truck drivers want to break into the field of heavy hauling for the money they can earn without fully understanding what it entails or the risks involved. An oversized load will typically involve heavy equipment, but there are a great number of other types of cargo that requires the specialized services provided by drivers experienced in oversized loads.

Loads that exceed ordinary dimensions will require one and possibly two escort vehicles. Drivers will need to learn how to work in tandem with the escort drivers to maintain safety for what they’re hauling and other drivers on the road. In addition to state requirements on height, width and length, there are federal standards that apply.

Special permits, signage and warning light requirements may be in force, along with permitted hours of operation. Because regulations vary from state to state, it’s essential that drivers know the rules of any state they’ll be driving through. There may also be specialized requirements governing how cargo is secured. Anything over 46,000 pounds is considered an oversized load.


In the U.S., loads exceeding 8.6 feet in width are considered an oversized load. Any load that exceeds 12 feet in width will usually require one or two escort vehicles to safely transport the cargo. A shipment greater than 16 feet in width is considered a super load and can require road closures and other special accommodations.


In most states, height limits to qualify as an oversize load are 13.5 to 14.5 feet. Drivers have to be very careful and have a route preplanned to avoid lodging their load under an overpass. There are still a large number of overpasses that aren’t even 13 ft. in height.


Any length that exceeds 48-53 feet falls under the heading of an oversize load. However, there are 25 states that allow trailers of up to 53 feet without a permit. Some states measure the overall length, while others measure from kingpin to rear axle.

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