Oklahoma is a state that thrives on industries involving heavy machinery and equipment, from the oil and gas sector to agriculture to the construction of infrastructure. Whether you’re in Oklahoma City or in travelling between farms, chances are you’ll see a heavy haul of transport on the roads travelling in all directions. Sometimes individuals transport their own equipment, while large corporations have their own fleet of trucks. For everyone else, there are heavy haul trucking companies available to step up and haul the load for you.
Heavy Hauling 101
Hauling heavy loads in any state requires skill, preparation, and the right equipment. Heavy hauling in Oklahoma requires you to adhere to safety regulations set by the state as well as carefully plan for the trip. Professional truck drivers know they have a checklist of steps to complete before loading day, but when you’re new to heavy hauling, or you are a first-time customer, you might not have thought about all the preparation that goes into the job or how you can make the process easier.
Here are five tips to help you with your heavy equipment and heavy machinery shipping.
Tip #1: Obtain the Necessary Permits
It’s essential to apply for the necessary permits before you load up your trailer and hit the road. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) has set oversize and overweight load limitations. If your shipment is over those limits, you will need a permit to travel. Failing to comply with these rules or travelling without a permit will result in fines.
You’ll need a different permit depending on whether this is a one-time shipment or you have a large project that requires multiple or routine shipments. All information on restrictions, as well as how to get your permit, can be found on the ODOT website.
Tip #2: Know the Rules and Regulations
Getting a permit to haul an oversize load is one rule to follow in the state of Oklahoma (and all states), but there are other regulations you should familiarize yourself with. For example, the state has rules about how heavy a load can be and how much weight per axle a trailer can accommodate. Adding axles to a trailer for a super load helps distribute the weight for the trailer to maintain integrity and protect roadways and infrastructure, like bridges and overpasses.
Tip #3: Plan the Route of Travel
Hand-in-hand with knowing the rules of the road comes our third tip to plan your route in advance. Certain roadways are not open to heavy or oversized loads. You’ll want to know which way can accommodate the size of your shipment as well as what days you’re allowed to travel. Many states have restricted hours of travel regarding weekends, rush hour times, and public holidays.
Experienced drivers always plan an alternate route to be ready for the unexpected. In the event of traffic delays, construction zones, or bad weather, knowing a viable alternate route can save you time and frustration rather than waiting in traffic or having to backtrack to find a new route. If you’re travelling a long distance, you’ll also want to plan your rest stops and ensure there is a place to stop your truck.
Tip #4: Secure Your Equipment
Any shipment on an open deck needs to be secured to the trailer. Heavy machinery has specific requirements for the placement of tie-downs and the type of securement system you use. Whether you use a chain or a tether strap, you need to use a ratchet system that allows you to pull the tie down tight and secure it. Professional drivers know where to secure your equipment for a safe shipment.
Tip #5: Check Your Equipment Before You Leave
Before loading your machinery onto your trailer, you should thoroughly inspect your truck and trailer to ensure that they are securely connected, that the brakes are working, the tires aren’t low, and that your lights are working. It’s also a good idea to clean off the deck of the trailer. Driving at high speeds will cause any loose dirt, debris, or stones to fly off at unpredictable times. The last thing you want to do is cause damage to vehicles around you.
When you drive the machine onto the trailer and secure it in the right spots, it’s recommended to inspect that everything is in the right place and in proper working condition. With heavy machinery, it’s also a good idea to make sure there is nothing left in the cab that could fly around in transit. It’s also good to lock the doors and cover the windows to prevent the glass from potential scratches, chips, and bug splatter.
Finding a Professional Heavy Haul Driver
Knowing the rules of the road is a great place to start for shipping heavy equipment in Oklahoma. These five ideas will help you get your load on the road faster, but they’re not the only precautions or planning required. Working with a professional heavy driver will make sure everything is done correctly.