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What is a height pole?

WHAT IS A HEIGHT POLE?

A height pole or high pole or hi-pole is a measuring device that is precisely attached to the front of a pilot car vehicle that is used to measure the height of overhead obstructions during the transport of over-dimensional (tall) shipments by oversize trucking companies. North American states and provinces have laws that regulate and mandate when a height pole is required in order to transport over height shipments within their jurisdiction. To be in compliance with these pre-determined requirements trucking companies must determine if the shipment they wish to transport will require a height pole pilot car or a lead escort vehicle with a height pole installed before applying for a oversize trucking permit.

pilot car truck equipped with a height pole.

Pilot car with height pole attached.

The photograph illustrated here is a typical example of what a pilot car vehicle might appear like when equipped with a height pole.  You can clearly see the measuring device affixed to the front of the vehicle as it is very tall. A height pole is typically made out of sections of fiberglass that are adjustable to meet the requirements by each state/province the shipment will be transported through. Typically the height pole will be adjusted to a height that is 6 inches (or 15.24 centimeters) taller than the shipment is when loaded onto the shipping trailer. Then once the actual transport of the item takes place the pilot car equipped with the height pole will proceed in front of the over-dimensional (tall) load being transported. If a driver of the pilot car equipped with the height pole (hi-pole or high pole) hears the fiberglass height pole hit any obstructions in the path of the shipment the operator will then immediately notify the driver of the truck transporting the shipment informing of the obstruction in order to prevent any damages to the shipment or the obstruction. When a height pole is properly mounted to the escort vehicle it is connected to the frame. If the height pole does happen to strike any objects the sound heard by the pilot car is very loud and distinct thus alerting the driver of the obstruction. It has been noted as recently as 2015 in excess of 169 million dollars in overhead obstruction damages were caused during that single year in the United States alone. So having these safety measures in place is most definitely in the best interest of everyone from the tax payer, to the safety of the motorists and the owner of the shipment being transported as well as the transportation company.


The importance of installing a height pole correctly.

There’s no such thing as cutting corners when installing a height pole on your pilot car. It’s extremely important it’s directly connected to the frame of your pilot car for two reasons:

  • Ensure it is sturdy, stable and not going to fall off of your vehicle.
  • So you can hear the sound it makes if it hits any obstruction. To do so properly it must be attached to the frame.

In order for the pilot car vehicle operator to properly hear the sound created by the height pole if a obstruction is hit it is imperative the device be properly and securely mounted to the vehicle in such a manner the bracket holding it is connected to the frame of the pilot car vehicle. In order to obtain the absolute highest quality from installing this device you may wish to make certain you are not adding sub-supports for your height pole when designing your attachment method.

Suggested methods of attaching a height pole.

While there are many different way to install a height pole on your pilot car vehicle we strongly suggest you locate a heavy-duty bumper grill made from heavy tubing such as you might see on law enforcement vehicles. If you are able to locate a front bumper/grill protector attachment you then have a few options:

  • The first would be to cut the top portion of the bumper guard off so your height pole can easily slide in/out of the pole. Make certain you devise a method than locks it in no matter how you decide to attach it.
  • The second option would be to locate a small piece of pipe the base of the height pole snugly fits into and weld this onto the bumper grill attachment.

This will require some planning, designing and fabricating on your part in order to weld the pipe in place so it stands perfectly vertical but well worth it if you wish to work with shipments that are over-height.

The bumper grill works so well due to the fact it usually connects with two bolts to your vehicle. The tubing these are constructed out of is not only heavy-duty but very close if not the same as the base of most height poles. So not only do it properly but efficiently as well.

Why is it so important to connect high poles to the frame of pilot car vehicles?

A good quality sound must be made if any obstructions are hit with the pole. You want to consider all of the other noises that occur when you are operating your pilot car vehicle. You’ve got the sound of your engine, the sound of your tires on the road as well as any 2-way radio chatter. Other sounds such as sirens, trains, air-planes etc. are frequent as well. Because the height pole is so important make sure if it does strike something overhead it clearly makes a loud sound. This will  instantly alert the operator by being indistinguishable from any other sounds or background noises.

 

NaviLow bridge height for pilot cars and trucking companies

NaviLow bridge height for pilot cars and trucking companies.

A few years back we realized that we would need to put together some sort of routing software that above many wishes for functionality would have bridge heights and utility obstructions. Bridge weights would be great too but will come in the future. Slowly but surely we’ve been collecting bridge heights on our own as well as got thousands of them submitted from you. We managed to save every single coordinate submitted and today that list continues to grow. With the anticipation of sharing this data someday we even came up with a name for it, “NaviLow”. With the help of technology we are now able to collect this data faster and more efficiently than before which is why we created a free phone app.

With this free ad free app that is available for both Android and iPhone one can click a button that will automatically collect the GPS coordinates. Then select the height of the obstruction and click submit. This will send the height and location data to us pinned to a map that you can’t see called a ESRI map for us to verify. Once verified it goes into our database that we will share with everyone else soon.

Types of overhead data to submit.

We’re looking for all data that crosses over the road or highway. If it crosses over the road or highway or any other route a truck might take then we want to know about it. That includes bridges, power lines, traffic lights, cable lines, fast food and fuel island covers, trees, railroad bridges, you name it we want it. Anything at all over head that may come in the route of a truck.

Using the application in your phone.

First and foremost for your own safety we do not wish for users to use the program while driving. The best thing you can do is to pull over at the overhead obstruction and then submit the data. If not and you have a co-pilot let them handle reporting the overhead data submission. In most (if not all) states and provinces it is illegal to use your cell phone while driving and that includes texting or using apps. The reason we are gathering this data is for public safety and to prevent accidents. Let’s not get hurt while collecting the data either.

At this point we’re assuming you have already went to iTunes or Google Play and downloaded the application. It’s a pretty easy what you see is what you get app. When you push the red button it collects your location data within milliseconds.

Clicking the red button will submit your GOS coordinates.

When you open up the current NaviLow APP in your phone this is the first thing you will see. When you click this red button it collects the Longitude and Latitude data from your location. The next screen will allow you to select the height.

How to select the height of the obstruction.

Once you click the red button and capture the data you will be taken to this screen which will allow you to select the height of the utility (or otherwise) obstruction you are reporting. Simply scroll down to select the proper height. Once selected you are ready to submit it.

Selecting the overhead height.

Once you have completely selected the height data for the overhead obstruction you are reporting your screen will look like this. In addition at the bottom there is a button that says “submit data”. For some reason it didn’t show up on our screen capture but it’s there. Once you click this button of course it will submit the data and you will be completed. Below are a couple of other messages you may see.

Overhead reporting completed.

If you see this you are fully completed with the overhead obstruction utility reporting process and can either close the app or wait until you come across the next obstruction you wish to report.

Location data must be enabled.

Make sure you have location data turned on for this individual application in order to capture your locations and for the application to work properly. If you see this error pop up you will know that location data is not turned on for this app. Simply go into your settings, locate the app and then enable it in order to proceed. You may need to restart the app after doing so.

Terms of service agreement.

This screen is our terms of service agreement (TOS). It is located in the app as well as online. Make sure you agree to these terms before using the app. If you do not agree to them simply uninstall the application from your device and do not continue. The basics of our TOS is that we will respect your privacy and will not share anything other than the data collected with anyone else. You also agree to not use the application while operating a moving vehicle or machinery. It covers liability and usage of the product as well as other legal issues and you are encouraged to read all of it.

We hope that you will choose to participate in the gathering of overhead clearance and obstruction data. This information is good for the industry to have access to and will help reduce accidents as well as damages to both private and public property. If you have any comments, concerns or ideas that you would like to share with us please do so. Eventually in the future we will include more tools in the application and users will be able to see the location of all of the obstructions reported as well as update them and continue to report new ones as well as other functions.

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