6 Tips for Transporting Oversize Loads At Night
Transporting an Oversize Load at Night?
Transporting oversize loads at night, while similar in many ways to transporting over-dimensional machinery and equipment during the day, can be a daunting prospect for the uninitiated. Here, we’ve laid out some essential tips for transporting oversize loads at night that will make the journey much safer and more enjoyable.
1. Make sure you've got appropriate escorts for oversize load transport.
Not every oversize load requires an escort vehicle, even if you have cargo that meets the traditional oversize transport permit requirements. Every state in the U.S. has its own array of pilot car requirements, which can vary by season, road conditions, applied time restrictions, and other factors. Some states require escorts for every oversize load if it’s being transported overnight, regardless of if the dimensions don’t fit the typical pilot car requirements for that state. Some states and routes require a police escort and pilot transport, so it’s worth checking with the state’s DOT who the appropriate escorts are for that area.
Maintaining constant radio contact with those in pilot cars can help to entertain during the journey, keeping drivers more alert and aware of their surroundings, as well as meeting the oversize load transport requirements set by the state.
2. Make sure your oversize load shipping sign is visible.
Making sure the overhead, front, or rear signage used remains visible throughout the entire journey will not only help the oversize load shipment conform to oversize shipping regulations, but it will also enhance vehicle and driver safety when driving in areas with reduced visibility. Regions that have limited available lighting should be avoided if possible, but when the weather conditions are less than perfect and poorly-lit routes cannot be avoided, having signage visible at all times is essential.
3. Make sure all oversize truck transport lights are working.
Another crucial safety tip for driving an oversize load at night is ensuring that all lights are effectively working before the start of the journey. Making periodic checks throughout the trip will alert haulers to any safety issues that need to be dealt with. Lights are one of the crucial ways that an oversize load can be identified at a distance, especially at night. Adequate lighting ensures that anyone who travels alongside is fully aware of the truck’s location and where to pass safely.
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4. Make regular stops along the oversize load travel route.
One of the critical dangers of overnight hauling is the danger of losing energy. If a driver gets tired, pulling over, getting out of the cab, and taking a five- to ten-minute break to stretch and experience the open air will keep blood flowing and energy levels up. Sitting for extended periods in a truck cab can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as neck pain, back issues, and fatigue. Making regular stops along the way can also allow haulers towing oversize loads to make frequent inspections of their rig, which has the added bonus of getting drivers out in the open air while following excellent safety protocols.
5. Ensure drivers are well-rested before oversize load hauling.
Similarly to the previous tip, making sure that drivers are well-rested is a key driving tip for safely transporting oversize loads at night. Studies have proven that even a cat-nap for less than an hour gives your body the vital energy it needs to stay awake later into the night. As we’re generally programmed to sleep during the night rather than actively drive, first-time, inexperienced, or long-haul drivers can benefit from taking a short rest before undertaking a long journey. Some rigs may allow more than one hauler to travel comfortably in the truck cab. In these cases, switching drivers can help make sure everyone remains well-rested and alert during oversize load haulage at night.
6. Make sure oversize load transport is secured when well-lit.
Another tip for oversize load towing is to ensure that shipments are secured and loaded onto the trailer during daylight hours or in well-lit facilities. In poor lighting conditions, loose-fitting straps or damaged parts may be missed and compromise the integrity of the trailer and its cargo.