Over the past decades, we’ve had the opportunity to talk to some of the “best of the best” in the rigging industry. We’ve seen everything from priceless pieces of art hanging from a crane over a body of water, and an entire bridge being driven through a dirt road in a remote jungle.
Our industry is all about logistics. Some of the top factors we look into when moving anything from a Toyota Camry to a 4-ton block of concrete are how much it weighs? How is the weight distributed? Is it awkward in size? Does it have hazmat limitations?
Here are some of the top considerations when driving an oversized load through a busy location:
First and foremost, know your route. Take the time beforehand and plan exactly where you are going. You don’t want to get stuck on a bridge with a boat crossing when you don’t have to. Cement trucks often times have to plan this out down to the minute when transporting wet cement to a job site.
Know local regulations. There are some towns and municipalities that don’t allow big rigs to come through city streets. Others require you to get a permit for such jobs. You don’t want to get stuck driving tons of equipment across the state only to find out last minute you can’t make it down the “final stretch.” You will also know well in advance whether or not you need a pilot or an escort car, but if you are going across state lines you’ll also need to know if there are any additional regulations for the pilot car.
Know your lodging and stops. Amateur drivers might skip over this part, but in a multi-part or destination trip, it is imperative you know this beforehand. Imagine this: you are 8 hours into a trip and its legally time to clock out. You need to find a hotel, but the only ones nearby don’t have parking for semi’s, and definitely not for oversized loads.
San Francisco, for example, has a map of what it is considered “urbanized” and has special requirements when traveling in those areas.
Get to know your pilot car/escort. Many times you’ll be required to drive along with an escort car. This is normally a sedan-sized vehicle with a marking on the car alerting other motorists of your presence. A good escort car will stay in constant communication with the driver, and in some cases have a passenger in the pilot car equipped with GPS and laptop. Maintaining a good relationship with the pilot vehicle is very important, especially when you are navigating busy city streets or tough intersections.
Hazmat Considerations. Hazmat considerations are important not only for legal reasons but for your own safety as well. If you watch the news you can see some of the results of these accidents in real life. If you are transporting flammable liquids or solids it’s even more important for your own safety and for the general public.
Other considerations. Most States have special considerations for inclement weather, holidays, weight/height, and for mobile homes etc. Transporting an over-sized load can take weeks to plan.