Oversized loads present a unique challenge for truck drivers. While they're more difficult to handle than standard loads, they also have several perks that make the job worthwhile. If you're looking for a way to add a challenging twist to your trip or make more money on the next haul, taking an oversized load can offer everything you're after.
What Is an Oversized Load?
There are many different types of oversized loads. This term refers very generally to any load that's larger than the standard regulations. In general, oversized loads in the United States are those that are wider than 8 feet 6 inches and cannot be broken down into smaller segments. Though the specifics vary by state, most consider anything taller than 13 feet 6 inches oversized. If the load weighs 250,000 pounds or more, it's a super load.
Oversized loads generally consist of large items that are already constructed and therefore cannot be split into separate loads. However, there are a few states that permit oversized loads of items that are divisible. Some common examples of items that would be considered an oversized load include pre-built mobile homes, windmill propellers, multi-stage rockets, bridge beams, and industrial equipment.
Understanding Varied Regulations
Oversize loads are subject to different regulations, but these aren't standardized across the United States. There are different regulations for each state. If you're operating out of a single state, you can get to know your local rules and adhere to them easily. However, if you're traveling across state lines, the regulations can get tricky. For example, Alabama allows an overhang of 4' in the front, while Florida permits only 3'. Alabama permits just 66,000 pounds on tridem axles while Florida allows up to 69,000 pounds.
This represents only a small handful of the differences you'll find among state regulations. If you're hauling oversized loads, it's crucial that you familiarize yourself with all the rules and regulations for every state that you'll pass through, to make sure you're operating appropriately and carry the right permits.
Handling Specified Routes
Oversized loads can only travel on particular routes. The size of your load will determine where you can take it. As the truck driver responsible for this load, you'll need to map out your route carefully to make sure you're staying on highways that can handle the size of your trailer. Your route must include accessible gas stations and rest stops.
As you're planning the trip, you'll need to consider the added time your extended route may take and plan your driving accordingly to make sure you arrive on schedule. The hours-of-service rules that apply to standard truck driving are suspended until 2017 for oversized loads. This is because it's considered dangerous to leave oversized loads untended for too long. If you're driving an oversized load, you're exempt from the 30-minute break rule.
Enjoying the Perks of Oversized Loads
Driving an oversized load is more challenging than standard truck driving because of the added size and weight that you're hauling behind you. Drivers pulling flatbed trailers must be skilled in cargo securement. However, there are some distinctive perks to this job. You'll generally make more for an oversized load, so the added challenge is appropriately compensated. You can also typically get an escort for these loads, which may ease some of the strain and even make for a more interesting trip. Pole cars and police cars can be hired to travel with you for certain loads, and are often a requirement in particular areas.
Keep these important points in mind as you're planning a trip with an oversized load to make sure you're properly prepared. With the right planning, you can enjoy many lucrative travels with this type of cargo.