What Is Over Dimensional Freight?

If you’ve ever followed a truck with a sign that says “CAUTION: OVERSIZED LOAD,” you’ve seen over dimensional freight. When it comes to oversized load hauling, it’s important that truckers and fleet owners understand the ins and outs of over dimensional freight. Not only do you need to know how to transport it safely, but many states have different rules and requirements for hauling over dimensional loads.

What is over dimensional freight?

The federal government and each state have rules about how tall, wide, long and heavy a load can be. That’s because our roads are only built to support a certain amount of weight or width. Larger-than-normal loads can damage the roads or require special clearance in order to transport goods.

Over dimensional loads are loads that exceed height, width and length regulations. This is usually about 8 feet, 6 inches wide, 53 feet long and 13 feet, 6 inches tall—although that can vary depending on the state. If your load is over 16 feet tall, that gives it “super” status. Super status often requires a pole car to perform the route before you are able to transport your cargo.

What to consider when hauling over dimensional freight

While states and the federal government typically won’t prevent you from hauling over dimensional freight, you’ll need to take special care in determining your route, which truck you take and your trailer. Depending on its dimensions and weight, it’s often prudent to spread the freight out over as many axles as possible. You will likely need special permits in each state you’re traveling through.

In some states, your freight needs to be “indivisible”—that is, it can’t be split up into more than one load—in order to get a permit. If it is divisible, it’s often an easier and faster proposition to split up the cargo rather than hauling it in one over dimensional load.

Even if your load doesn’t require a pole car, it will require you to plan your route carefully. Find out as much as you can about the height and width of the infrastructure—such as bridges, overpasses and more—in each state. For example, Florida considers anything 15 feet or taller to be a super load, since the infrastructure there is built lower to the ground.

Experienced trucking companies may not find this a difficult proposition, especially if you’ve hauled similar loads before. If, however, this is your first time, you’ll want to do your research and ask for advice when planning the route. It’s better to invest the time in advance than to find out that you’ll have to turn around or go another way.

Over dimensional hauling with Steve Emken Trucking

Don’t own your own fleet? Steve Emken Trucking is happy to haul your over dimensional cargo. We’re familiar with the rules and regulations surrounding oversized freight in all of the lower 48 states. No matter what you’re hauling and where, we can help. Call us today to get started with our oversized load hauling services.