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2022 South Carolina State Shipping Regulations

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South Carolina DOT Shipping Regulations for Oversize and Overweight Trucking on State Highway and Roads

South Carolina shipping regulations.
The great state of South Carolina official seal.

Please share your expertise or knowledge with others visitors below.

Legal Load Limits in South Carolina

Legal load sizes and weight limits in South Carolina:

  • Length: 60′ is the overall maximum length allowed without a permit.
  • Width: 8′ 6″ in the maximum legal width allowed to travel on state roads.
  • Height: 13′ 6″ is the maximum legal height allowed to travel without a permit.
  • Weight: 80,000 lbs maximum GVW is the maximum weight permitted to travel without a permit.
  • Overhang: 3′ in the front and 6′ in the rear is the maximum permitted overhang for legal travel.

Routine Trucking Permits in South Carolina

Trucking permits for overweight and oversize loads that are handled on a daily basis in South Carolina:

  • Length: 125′ in length pretty much is the maximum for routine permits. 100′ in length is the maximum on mobile homes. Overhang see; escort requirements below, but the maximum is about 15′ in length.
  • Width: 16′ in width is the maximum allowed on a routine permit. Over this width, depending on routing and you may become a superload.
  • Height: 16′ in height is about the maximum. Anything over 16′ in height and you start to run into trouble. Any shipment that is over 16′ in height will be required to have a route survey done before getting a permit issued. Routing requires the overall height of your shipment to be a minimum of 6″ less than any obstructions on the route to get that route approved routinely.
  • Weight: Single axle maximum weight: 20,000 lbs, tandem axle maximum weight is 40,000 lbs, tridem axle maximum weight is 50,000 lbs, quadem axle maximum weight is 70,000 lbs, 5 axle maximum weight is 90,000 lbs, 6 axle maximum weight is 110,000 lbs, 7 axle maximum weight is 130,000 lbs. Anything over 130,000 lbs in weight is a superload and will need to have a bridge analysis done. See the superload section below.
  • Overhang: 3′ in the front and 15′ of the rear overhang is about all you will get. You can call for more information but expect trouble.

NOTE: South Carolina DOT is pretty tough on shipments that exceed any of these weights/dimensions. So if you are a boat shipper, you’d better figure out a way to cut that fly-bridge off, sorry, and don’t shoot the messenger.

Superload Information in South Carolina

We have the following information available on superloads:

As far as length goes, you can get some play as long as your routine keeps you away from historic areas. Width is the same thing with traffic density and population considered. Height is big trouble with the South Carolina DOT. You must have a pilot car with you at all times if you are over 16′ in height. Count on a complete route survey for shipments over the 16′ in height, and remember that they won’t let you travel ANY route where the clearance is less than the required 6″ overage in height. If you’re 18′ in height, the obstruction on the proposed route needs to be a minimum of 18′ 6″ in height, or you’re going to have delays in getting your permit. Weight is a severe issue if you want to cross over ANY bridges, so if your shipment is over 130,000 lbs in overall gross weight, get ready for bridge studies and time delays. Our suggestion: examine routing alternatives. Overhang is a rare issue, but you will have trouble when it comes up, and you want to overhang over 15′. That is the case anytime you want to exceed the basic rule, which is more than 1/3 of the overall shipment length; you just don’t do it as it’s too dangerous, and the South Carolina DOT knows it.

Permitted Travel Times and Restrictions in South Carolina

The one-half hour after sunrise and one-half hour before sunset rule applies. Travel is permitted Monday through Saturday, with no travel permitted on Sundays. It’s possible to approve Sunday travel, but the basic rule is “no travel on Sundays.” Your travel permit will be stated if you are allowed to travel on a Sunday.  You may not travel on the following holidays:

  • New Years day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

You may not travel past noon on the day before the holiday and until after noon on the day after the holiday. In high-traffic areas, you are not allowed to travel from 7 AM -9 Am and 3 PM – 6 PM if you are over 14′ in width. If you’re 16′ in width or over, on Saturdays, you are only permitted to travel between 9 AM and 3 PM, with no travel before or after permitted in any locations.

When Pilot Cars Are Required in South Carolina

A pilot car (escort vehicle) is required when:

  • Length: Length is tricky in South Carolina. Call the DOT for the correct information. Leave your comments below for others, please.
  • Width: From 12′ to 14′ in width will require 1 front pilot car (escort vehicle) on 2-lane roads. 14′ to 16′ in width will require 1 front and 1 rear pilot car (escort vehicle) on all roads in the state. If your shipment is over 16′ in width, you will be required to have 3 pilot cars (escort vehicles) 1 front, 1 rear, and 1 police escort in the rear.
  • Height: It all depends on your routing. You could be required to have a pilot car (escort vehicle) with a height pole the entire trip if you are 13′ 7″  (seriously). Please share your expertise with others below.
  • Weight: If you are approved for weight and maintain the minimum speed requirements, the South Carolina DOT permit office will probably not require you to have a pilot car (escort vehicle).
  • Overhang: If you’re pulling a 48′ or a 53′ (just to clarify) extended trailer and you have less than 15′ of overhang, you can probably get away with flagging or amber lighting your shipment instead of a rear pilot car (escort vehicle). Anything over the 15′ mark and forget it; you will be required to have a pilot car (escort vehicle).

Pilot Car Certifications in South Carolina

Pilot car (escort vehicle) certifications & requirements:

The South Carolina DOT is pretty relaxed on pilot cars. You must have the proper banner/sign stating “OVERSIZE LOAD” or “WIDE LOAD” displayed prominently on the top of the vehicle, front of lead vehicles, or rear of chase vehicles. You must have a flashing or strobing amber light on the top of the vehicle that is visible from 360 degrees from a distance of no less than 500′. You must have a CB radio or 2-way communication device and communicate with all drivers working on your shipment. You are required to have your headlights turned on while working.

NOTE: It is only our professional opinion that pilot cars also have a minimum of the additional items but not required:  2 – 5 pound fire extinguishers type A, B, and C, a paddle sign with the word “STOP” on one side and “SLOW” on the other with dimensions of no less than 18″ in diameter with a minimum of 6″ letters. A red safety-colored flag with a handle no less than 18″ square, 3 reflective emergency road triangles or 18″ traffic cones, 8 burning road flares, 2 OVERSIZE LOAD banners (yellow with black lettering), and a safety colored (red, orange, yellow or lime green) vest, jacket or shirt (used while directing traffic).

Shipment, Truck & Trailer Markings in South Carolina

Truck, trailer, and shipment required signs, banners, and flags:

Amber lights: You must have 1 rotating or strobing rear amber light on any vehicle shipping a load over 12 inches. Flags in safety colored orange or red with a minimum length in any direction of 12″ must be mounted on the 4 outermost corners of the entire shipment. Banner signs stating “OVERSIZE LOAD” or “WIDE LOAD” must be placed on the rear and front of the overall shipment. Banner signs must have a letter height of no less than 12′ and a letter thickness of no less than 1 1/2″. Banner signs must have a yellow background with black lettering.

South Carolina DOT & Information

South Carolina DOT contact and other useful information:

South Carolina Department of Transportation – DOT
PO Box 191
Columbia, SC  39202

Telephone helpline: 803-737-6769
Fax number: 803-737-2199
Hours of operation: 8 AM until 4:30 PM Monday thru Friday – EASTERN TIME ZONE.
South Carolina DOT oversize/overweight information website.
South Carolina guidelines for movement of oversize and overweight loads.
South Carolina do it yourself single trip permit application – warning you can lose your money if you are not trained.


South Carolina Road Closures

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 South Carolina State DOT Permits office before commencing movement.

South Carolina DOT regulations.
South Carolina state flag.

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