Oversize load requirements

Written by laila alvarez
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Oversize load requirements
An oversized load (wide load. image by Paula Gent from Fotolia.com)

When transporting large objects that cannot be broken down, it's important to be aware that the item in question meets the oversized load requirements. Over-sized load requirements vary by state but do have commonalities that can be used as a common rule. Knowing these rules before travelling will help you travel stress-free without any hassles trying to obtain an oversized banner without reason.

Over-sized Load Contents

Over-sized loads are large items or bulk items that cannot be separated into smaller parts. It's a giant singular item instead of large group of items. If an item can be rearranged and removed they cannot be considered an oversized load. Knowing this ahead of time will save you the trouble of applying for a permit in your state and being turned down.

Height Requirements

Height limits for getting approved for an oversized permit differ for transporting an oversized load but the most common limit is 13 feet and six inches. Height requirements are sometimes different between states due to height clearances that would allow an oversized load to pass, such as certain bridges or tunnels. A special transportation permit including a route that will avoid low bridges will then be needed if the load exceeds these measurements.

Width Requirements

The width of an oversized load needs to be a minimum of eight feet and six inches, although state laws can vary with this requirement. Take this into account if a load is 8 feet, 5 inches and the driver will have difficulty manoeuvring on most highways. In some states certain highways and tunnels will not allow oversized loads based on their width. A special transportation permit will then be needed if the load exceeds these measurements.


If the oversized load impedes the driver's vision or takes up more than one lane, there must be a tailing car and a pilot vehicle behind and in front of the truck with the load to alert other drivers to the oversized load. The truck usually has at least one flashing light or both of its flashers on while on the road, as well. When driving at night, flashing lights are required. Sometimes the tailing vehicle and pilot also have these lights on to let other vehicles on the road know this truck is going slow and might take up two lanes. In many states, oversized loads are not allowed on the road at night.

Inter-state Transportation

Before you drive an oversized load over your state's borders, you will need to obtain a license for each state through which you will be transporting your load. To obtain these licenses you will need to contact each state's department of transportation. Exceeding each state's basic requirements for an oversized load may require special state permits and possibly police escorts.

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