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Safely Hauling Long loads

You don’t have to be in hotshotting to deal with oversize loads. We see this all the time with average Joe or contractors pulling out of Home Depot with materials too long for their vehicles.  There’s also exterior service contractors with long ladders swinging out the back.   I’ve even seen one use a ladies red brassier as a flag on the end.

What are the rules on what is legal? What if your load does stick out too far what are you required to do to keep it legal?

Transport regulations set out requirements for commercial vehicles, but the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations have rules for light vehicles too. There are specific formulas depending on the type of vehicle you are operating. If you are towing a trailer and commercial vehicles, like hot shot trucks, you can get exemption permits. We will focus here on general rules to keep you, the non hot shot operator, safe.

General rule of thumb for light vehicles is they cannot exceed 2.6M (8.5 feet) Wide 12.5M (41 feet) Long nor 4.15M (13.5 feet) High.

But how far can that ladder extend before you have to flag it (hopefully with something other than a red bra)?

Drivesmart BC states that your load or anything you are carrying cannot stick out more than:

  • 1M (3 feet) ahead of your front bumper.
  • 1.85M (6 feet) behind your rear bumper.
  • 4.5M  (9 feet) behind your last axle. This last measurement seems generous considering the resulting “swing” of any protrusion when you make a sharp turn. 

If your load fits within these parameters, you need to flag the rear overhang so drivers behind you can spot it and stay back. Ideally bungee, tape or staple a red flag to the end of your load. If you are in the hardware store grab a roll of red ribbon tape. It’s cheap and small, and you can throw it in the glove box so it’s always on hand when you are in a pinch. 

Hot shot operators travel all hours including after dark so we have lights or strobes to remain legal and safe when it gets dark. So in the dark winter months you could find yourself coming home or leaving in the dark. A simple red LED blinker from Amazon or from a bike shop mounted to the end of your long load will help drivers behind you spot and avoid your long load. 

So be safe and courteous and avoid a fine by flying your own flag like a hot shot carrier.  If you would like more information, give Erik at Hightail Hotshots a call at 604-728-3037.