Pilot Car Requirements for Large Load Trucking


Written by Trusted Dispatch

March 1, 2023

Pilot Car Requirements for Large Load Trucking

If you are shipping an oversized load from state to state, your driver will need to secure special permits. Rules for shipping oversized equipment will vary according to the province or state you are travelling through, so it is important to know the regulations for each jurisdiction.

The​​se special instructions may include information on securement procedures, signage, and prohibited times for travel. The rules will also identify when escort vehicles are required to accompany your heavy haul driver and their load. 

What Is An Oversized Load?

The actual definition of an oversized load in North America will vary by province and state. 

  • An oversized load in BC is classified as exceeding 4.15 m in height, 23 m in length, and 2.6 m in width. 
  • An oversized load in Ontario is classified as exceeding 4.15 m in height, 16.15 m in length, and 2.6 m in width.  

The reason for these differences is that each area will have different requirements to accommodate the road infrastructure and the natural terrain. 

What Is a Pilot Car? 

Pilot cars, also known as escort vehicles or guide cars, are commonly used when transporting oversized loads. They are used to safely guide the heavy haul driver and warn them of special circumstances, including:

  • Accidents that may impede travel
  • Construction zones
  • Road infrastructure such as bridges or narrow tunnels
  • Low hanging wires
  • Traffic jams or other congestion

Pilot cars also serve to alert the public and surrounding motorists of the oncoming oversized load. 

What Does a Pilot Car Do?

Pilot cars are vital for truckers who are engaged in oversized load transportation. When travelling with oversized loads, pilot cars can help with the following:

  • To provide a buffer when oversized vehicles need more time and distance to stop, make lane changes, and pass other vehicles.
  • To identify and communicate information regarding vehicles that may be travelling in their blind spots. 

For some shipments, it may be necessary to have more than one pilot car travelling in front and behind the load.

What Does a Pilot Car Look Like?

Pilot cars come in many forms. They can be pick-up trucks, vans, SUVs, or sedans. They need to be fitted with special equipment, such as lights and flags, to alert other drivers of their presence. They also need to be equipped with CB radios so that they can communicate with the driver. 

Signage For Oversized Loads and Pilot Cars

When transporting oversized loads, some provinces require flags to be erected on the truck and load to alert surrounding drivers of the hazard. In other cases, heavy load signage must be displayed on the front of the truck and the back of the load. 

Do I Need a Pilot Car For My Shipment?

When you post your load to the load board, your driver will determine if you need a pilot car based on the dimensions. You simply need to post your information, including your pick-up location, drop-off destination, and size and weight of your machine, using the free quote app

How to Get the Size and Weight of Your Equipment

If you are unsure of the size and weight of your equipment, you can use our Specs Tool to find out. If you need to ship additional equipment, such as attachments, this may require separate transportation. In this case, give us a call, and we can help you set up your shipment.

The Additional Cost of Pilot Cars

When you get your free quote, this will include the basic cost associated with shipping your heavy machinery, including driver costs. There are no hidden fees, so there are no unpleasant surprises after your equipment has been shipped.

Any additional costs for permits, and pilot cars if needed, are not included in the quote. In some cases, a driver will offer an all-in price to cover the extra fees to get your load shipped. Our customer support will contact you to review what extra costs are needed and why they are necessary. 

Post Photos Of Your Equipment

Once you are ready to post your load to the load board, include any additional information and photos of your equipment that may help your driver prepare. 

Connect With a Professional Heavy Haul Driver

Our network of drivers is located across Canada and the United States, making it easy to ship your load anywhere in North America. Our drivers are also highly experienced and are vetted for professionalism.

Once you post your load to the load board, you will be connected with a heavy haul driver. Loads are typically accepted within 24 to 48 hours, so check your email or the Trusted Dispatch app. When your load is accepted by a driver, you will receive their contact information so you can discuss your shipment.

Secure Your Oversized Load Transportation

If you are looking for a transport company to ship your heavy equipment, call Trusted Dispatch. We offer competitive rates, and we’ll get your equipment shipped safely to its destination. Get your instant free quote now.

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