2020 Michigan state DOT shipping laws, rules, regulations and limitations for oversize and heavy-haul trucking.


The great state of Michigan official seal.

Help others by sharing your knowledge of Michigan state regulations below.

Michigan oversize permits, heavy-haul trucking companies and pilot cars.

Locate oversize, heavy-haul trucking companies and pilot cars:

Michigan oversize, heavy-haul and pilot car companies for hire.
Michigan oversize and heavy-haul trucking companies for hire.
Michigan oversize and heavy-haul trucking permits.

Do I need a trucking permit? Legal load limits.

Michigan maximum load limits until a trucking permit is required:

Length: Overall no longer than 75 feet on designated highways.  Trailer length maximum is 50 feet on non-designated and 53 feet on designated.
Width:  96 inches on non designated highways and 102 inches (8 feet 6 inches.) on designated.
Height: 13 feet 6 inches tall.
Weight: 80,000 pounds GVW, 20,000 pounds on single axles (not steer), 34,000 pounds on tandem axles.
Overhang: 3 feet in the front and anything over 4 feet in the rear must be red flagged in the day and have a red light at night.
Notes:  There’s no restriction on maximum length of combination of truck-tractor and semitrailer with or without load

Routine oversize and heavy-haul trucking permits.

These maximum dimensions/weights are considered routine oversize or heavy-haul trucking permits in Michigan:

Length: Under 150 feet in length.  Anything over 150 feet is classified as a superload (105 feet maximum for mobile homes).
Width: Figure up to 16 feet as a routine permit.  Anything over is going to looked at seriously and they may even classify you as superload.
Height: Up to 15 feet is routine.  If you are over 15 feet high count on needing a route survey.
Weight:  All weights in excess of 80,000 pounds over all are decided on a case by case basis. Anything over 150,000 lbs is subject to a bridge weight study.
Overhang: Any shipment in excess of 4 feet of overhang is permitted on a case by case basis only.
Notes: Maximum speed for any permitted shipment is 45 MPH. Permits for heavy shipments may take more than 10 days to process.

Michigan superloads.

Information about shipping superloads in the state of Michigan.

If your shipment is in excess of any of the following weights or dimensions it may be classified as a superload.

Length: Anything over 150 feet.
Width: 16 feet or over.
Height: 15 feet and over is classified as a superload. Some limited routes may vary.
Notes: We have no weight maximums to report. Height may be on a case by case basis.

Lights, safety flags and warning signs for heavy haul and oversize loads.

Required safety markings, safety flags, warning lights for heavy haul and oversize loads:

All oversize load shipments will be required to display 2 “Oversize Load” signs. On must be mounted to the bumper of the truck and the other to the rear of the trailer. Signs must be a minimum of 7 feet in width and 18 inches in height with 10 inch black letters on a yellow background. Flags are required on all 4 corners of the combination and be safety red or orange in color and be 18 inches square. If the item being shipped has dimensions extending beyond the trailer then the extremities must be flagged as well. Headlights must be on at all times. A minimum of 2 flashing of strobing lights must be mounted to the rear portion of the load.

When pilot cars or escort vehicles are required.

Heavy-haul or oversize loads may be required to be accompanies by a escort vehicle or pilot car if:

Length: 90 feet to 100 feet one on the rear. Over 100 feet requires a rear pilot car or “chase” escort vehicle.
Width: Loads over 12 wide on 4 lane is required one rear escort/pilot car. A lead or front pilot car is required for loads on 2 lane highway over 12 feet wide.  Front and rear pilot cars/escorts are required for loads over 14 feet wide.
Height: Over 14 feet and 5 inches is required to have a pilot car equipped with a height pole. Over 15 feet in height will require a rear chase escort vehicle in addition to 1 lead pilot car equipped with a height pole.
Overhang: If over 15 feet 1 rear escort is required.
Weight: If truck can maintain minimum speeds no pilot cars are required unless excessive or superload.
Note: Allow 1 to 10 days for permits to be approved. Distance for pilot car to lead/chase load 500′ unless otherwise stated on permit. This is the distance between lead/chase and the truck/trailer. Maximum speeds of 45 MPH if 4 or more lanes, 35 MPH is under 4 lanes. Also read travel restrictions below.

Pilot cars/escort vehicle certifications and requirements.

Pilot car or escort vehicle mandatory operator certifications and vehicle requirements:

In order to qualify as a pilot car vehicle in the state of Michigan you must either have a pickup truck or a passenger car with at least one rotating or flashing amber light mounted on the top of the vehicle. Pilot cars and escort vehicles must also display one oversize load sign that is 5′ x 1′ tall and have black letters no less than 8 inches tall on a yellow background. All flashing, stroking or rotating amber lights must be visible from a distance of no less than 500 feet. In addition to this we strongly suggest pilot cars and escort vehicles have the minimum of federally suggested equipment.

See: Pilot_Car_Escort_Best_Practices_Guidelines_508CLN

Legal travel times for oversize and heavy haul loads.

Travel times and restrictions for heavy-haul and oversize loads:

Travel time is sunrise to sunset daylight only with the half hour before sunrise and a half hour after sunset leniency rule.  No weekend travel.  No holiday travel or the day after Christmas or Thanksgiving. They have rush hours rules from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM in a whole list of counties (look on permit). Wind restrictions if over 24 MPH you can’t run. Frost and thaw laws in effect from Feb. until April on weight. You can view holiday restrictions.Lindemeyer, Transport, LLC.

Michigan DOT contact information, notes and resources.

Michigan DOT contact information:

Physical address:
Michigan Department of Transportation – DOT, Permits Unit
425 West Ottowa Street
Lansing, MI  48909
Email: click here for e-mail contact form on state website.
Telephone: 517-241-8999
Hours: Monday thru Friday 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM (closed from 12 until 1:00 PM)
Eastern Standard Time
Michigan is a member of MVCSHTO.

Very helpful documents:
Michigan Farmer’s Transportation Guide
Shipping mobile homes in Michigan
Michigan superloads – route surveys
Michigan maximum dimensions

Michigan full breakdown of laws:

Michigan cities we service:

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The information contained in these pages is research information primarily for use by oversize and overweight trucking company drivers, dispatchers and pilot car companies. While every effort is put into maintaining the accuracy of this information you must absolutely verify this information with the Michigan State DOT Permits office before commencing movement.
Michigan state DOT regulations for heavy haul and oversize loads.

Michigan state flag.

  1. Is there a maximum length for overhang in a personal pick-up truck? I see the 3 foot and 4 foot flagging reg. but not a maximum,

    • Jake. You are correct here in your assumption. No matter how long the right is the law says 3 feet of front and 4 feet of rear before advancing to a permit. Sorry buddy, we don’t make the rules!

  2. 500′

  3. This is very useful info. Thanks for writing it.

  4. when following a load how far in front and how far behind should a escort vehicle be legally in the state of michigan ,please email me back with the regulations

    • Well Cousins Pilot Car, that’s a very good question so we called MDOT and asked them at (517)241-8999. They stated that the maximum distance Michigan requires between the truck and the load whether chasing or leading is 500′. They also told us that each individual permit would state the distance required (if different) on a load by load basis depending on the routing they assigned to the load as well as any special characteristics the load may have.

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