Driving Around Over Sized Loads
shows that you are a professional. Remember that in sharing the road with over dimensional loads, size does matter.
While this article was written to educate other truck drivers how to drive around trucks with oversized or overdemensional loads, the information is the same no matter what type of vehicle you are driving.
Have you ever seen those 20-30+ axle double and triple trailer rigs carrying some huge piece of machinery going down the road? They are awesome aren’t they. I saw a really long beam running along the road once that had an extra driver on the rear of the rig to navigate the tail around curves. Those sights are fun to see but don’t come along often. More commonly seen are over dimension loads of machinery, beams, pipe and double wide halves that may be only 100’ long or so and perhaps 12-16‘ wide.
Over dimension drivers are a hardy breed. They often have to have escorts, special permits, are limited to their routes and speed that they can run, times they can run and have to deal with obstacles that normal sized trucks take in stride. If you listen to the cb when an over sized is around, you will hear the driver communicating with his escorts as to what is coming up behind to pass and what is up ahead that might require a lane adjustment.
Sharing the road with over sized loads requires some extra dexterity and courtesy on the part of other drivers. One of the main complaints I have heard from over sized load drivers is that people won’t just get on around them…they hang next to them stopping them from being able to adjust for obstacles ahead.
Here are some things that over sized drivers have to watch for ahead: broken down or emergency vehicles on the shoulder, road construction narrowing the lanes, low/narrow bridges and overpasses, curves, debris on the shoulder, merging traffic, sign and light posts and pedestrians. All this in addition to the normal things like exits for their routes.
Following is how I drive around over dimensional loads and I think it works fairly well for all involved. When I am coming up on an OD load, I look to see how it is over sized, length is not the issue that width is. I slow down after entering the left lane to check ahead for any obstacles, if it is clear, I will ask the driver if it is convenient for me to come around identifying myself as an 18 wheeler, he/she may be able to see more than me. Upon the drivers ok, I get on around the OD load giving the rig as much room as safely can be done, staying in the left lane longer to give the OD driver more space between us so he/she can see farther ahead. I never get between an OD driver and his/her escorts.
If the driver says it is not ok to pass right then or if I see obstacles ahead, I just go in behind the escort or truck, stay slow and wait. The way I was trained many years ago was that size and weight have the right of way.
In the rare case that the OD driver is not on the cb, it is my responsibility to make sure that I will not endanger him/her or myself so I will look ahead to make sure the road is straight, fully wide and there are no obstacles that the OD driver will have to avoid. Again, I follow the ‘get around as quickly and safely’ as I can rule.
Driving around OD loads takes some common sense and patience. The few minutes you lose by slowing down and waiting for it to be safe to pass should not make you late for anything and being observant of obstacles is part of your job as a truck driver. Showing another driver courtesy is always good and safe.