When Are Pilot Cars Necessary for Oversized Loads?


Written by Trusted Dispatch

March 16, 2023

There are several rules and regulations when it comes to transporting oversized loads. Many are different between the province/state or country you are driving in, and it is always essential to check what the regulations are for your location.

In most areas of North America, oversized loads will call for pilot cars. Pilot cars can help with safety, the guidance of transport, and much more. What are pilot cars, and how can you determine if your transport truck requires one? Read on to learn everything about pilot cars and why they are necessary when transporting heavy loads. 

What Do Pilot Cars Do?

Have you ever driven down the road and spotted a vehicle either driving ahead or behind a semi-truck with some cargo? If so, then you’ve spotted a pilot car. The pilot car has several responsibilities in the trucking industry. A pilot car’s job is not only to alert other drivers of an oversized load on the road but to communicate with the truck driver. 

If you’ve ever wondered why the pilot car drives a significant distance ahead of the oversized load, it’s because they provide navigation to the trucker. The vehicle will scout ahead and ensure the road is safe for the truck driver. It is hard for a heavy load to turn around or change direction quickly. Therefore, the pilot cars will report back to the trucker to inform them of any roadblocks or issues. 

Pilot cars need to be experienced drivers, ensuring road safety for other drivers, the trucker and the load. Professional heavy haulers often have their contacts for pilot vehicles. At Trusted Dispatch, our highly-vetted drivers choose capable and experienced drivers. 

Why Pilot Cars Are Essential for Road Safety 

Communication between the pilot car and the driver is essential for road safety. If there are any hazards ahead, then a pilot car will report back. Not only is this crucial for the safety of the oversized load, but it also decreases the time transporting.

A pilot car can scout ahead to find the safest and most efficient route for the driver. If there are any changes to the planned journey or any significant changes in road conditions, then a pilot car will inform the driver. 

Oversized Regulations

Each province/state will have their own separate oversized regulations. It’s crucial to inform yourself of these rules and requirements. In Canada, each province will have different regulations on pilot cars, but most provinces will require at least one pilot car to travel with a heavy load. 

Typically, an oversized load will need a pilot car when it hits the regulated maximums of the province or states (if you are travelling in the U.S.). If your equipment is over in length, width or height, you will need a pilot car to inform others on the road of the load and scout ahead for hazards. 

There are some exemptions for farming equipment in the prairie provinces. These provinces include Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta

Where to Find Pilot Car Drivers

When looking for a pilot car driver, it’s essential that they are experienced and well-vetted drivers for the safety of your equipment. Typically truck drivers have good connections to well-seasoned pilot drivers. 

At Trusted Dispatch, we are committed to your trucking needs. Use Trusted Dispatch to find a professional driver who can take care of the details, such as finding pilot cars when needed.

Pilot Cars for Oversized Loads

If you are searching for truckers and pilot cars for your heavy hauling needs, then head on over to Trusted Dispatch. Our convenient app will help pair you with an experienced and knowledgeable truck driver ready to transport your heavy equipment safely to its destination. Contact Trusted Dispatch today if you have any further questions, or use our calculator for a free quote.

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