There’s no doubt about it that the winter time is hard on a pilot car company. This is one reason why pilot car companies need to be wiser with there money when they do have it. Put that money away for the lean season. When winter time and the early spring months come, you’re going to need it!
Right now is a very busy time for us. From ad campaigns to developing software and making sure all of our carriers are happy we’re just flat out busy right now. In the midst of this one can’t help but to notice a few things.
As every year the pilot cars have it real tough at this time of the year. It appears that everyone is running (in every direction they can run) and most are unsatisfied with their results with the exception of the true veterans of the industry. We’ve had pilot car companies sign up in the dead of winter this year only to demand a refund within 30 days or so. Our basic service is $4.16 a month! When there’s no freight running there simply isn’t any. This is the equivalency to shooting your company in both feet (at the same time). One thing to consider is we’re not a brokerage supported website nor do we wish to perpetuate the industry in this direction. Our objective is to connect pilot car companies direct with carriers – not people skimming nickels and dimes (per mile) in a unregulated industry. While we don’t support freight brokerage either at least they are required to have a bond and a Federal MC#. Frost laws, the economy and what we refer to as “chaotic theory” all play a factor in determining freight volumes. This year is no different than any other and the official “boom” will happen sometime between the first of May and as late as the end of June just as it does every year.
When a pilot car company (or any company for that matter) is stressed out and having a hard time and decides to leave a company as heavily armed as WideloadShipping (online for almost 15 years, top of the search engines, has the trucks doing business on site and takes almost 2 million hits a month during peak months) because they are frustrated during the slowest months of the year they are like any other human being. They are going to think thoughts like “oh, they don’t like me as I quit using them” or “i’m embarrassed because I acted poorly in an email I sent to them” or even worse think they actually got ripped off. Whatever the scenario for $4.16 a month there is no way under the moon and the stars a company can go wrong on a deal like that for more than 20 reasons but here’s a quick 10:
You’re getting your name in the marketplace cheaply.
Not only that but ask yourself why are the trucking companies here?
Our site has so much history it is a trusted site.
We place exceptionally well in all related terms so customers can find you.
If you have your own website just the link from ours to yours is worth over $300 a yr.
Again, as far as popularity you are also connected to your Facebook account.
You are linked to your Twitter account.
You are linked to your Google account.
You are linked to your Google+ account.
You are linked to your YouTube account and can show your videos.
This is just a few of the more positive items rambled off real quickly. If we wanted to brag it wouldn’t be very hard. The point is, we offer a very affordable value oriented service and if just one company get’s left behind in all of the years of effort we have put into the heavy haul and oversize trucking industry we are not doing our jobs properly.
As far as pilot car companies are concerned it certainly isn’t where our company get’s it’s bread and butter for sure. Count the pins in the map then just assume each customer has a premium account (which they do not). You will quickly see this is a labor of love and we do it for our carriers, not financial gains as the money just simply isn’t there folks.
If you are one of the companies that has had a hard time with the new pilot car system you can rest assure we are not harboring any feelings towards you and if anything are looking for your presence so we can service our carriers. Send us an email so you can get your account back on track and learn how the system can work for you. Even if you don’t prefer to live post at least get your permanent home base pin is in its proper location and your listing not only looking good but reading well also. Save your money, be smart with your spending and add a few years to your life by relaxing. This slow time too shall end.
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. Trucking permits for overweight and oversize loads that are handled on a daily basis:
Length: 125′ in length pretty much is the maximum for routing 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 prior to getting a permit issued. Also your routing requires that the overall height of your shipment is a minimum of 6″ less that any obstructions on the route in order to get that route approved routinely. Weight: Single axle maximum weight: 20,000 lbs, tandem axle maximum weight is 40,000 lbs, tridum 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 superload section below. Overhang: 3′ in the front and 15′ of rear overhang is about all you are going to get. You can call for more information but expect trouble. Notes: South Carolina DOT is pretty tough on shipments that exceed any of these weight/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. We have the following information available on superloads:
As far as length goes you can get some play as long as your routing 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 will be required to have a pilot car with you at all times if you are over 16′ in height for sure. Count on a full route survey for shipments over the 16′ in height and remember that they are NOT going to want to let you travel ANY route where the clearance is less than the required 6″ overage in height. So if you are 18′ in height then the obstruction on the proposed route needs to be a minimum of 18′ 6″ in height or you are going to have delays in getting your permit. Weight is a serious 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 when it comes up and you are wanting to overhang in excess of 15′ you are going to have trouble. This 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. Permitted travel times and restrictions:
The 1 half hour after sunrise and 1 half hour before sunset rule applies. Travel is permitted Monday through Saturday with no travel permitted on Sundays. It is possible to get Sunday travel approved but the basic rule is “no travel on Sundays“. If you are allowed to travel on a Sunday it will be clearly stated on your travel permit. You may not travel on the following holidays: New Years day, Independence day, Labor day, Memorial day, Thanksgiving day and Christmas day. You may not travel past 12 noon on the day previous of the holiday day and until after 12 noon on the day after the holiday. In high traffic density areas you are not allowed to travel from 7 AM -9 Am and 3 PM – 6PM if you are in excess of 14′ in width. If you are 16′ in width or over, on Saturdays you are only permitted to travel between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM with no travel before or after permitted in any locations.
When pilot cars are required. A pilot car (escort vehicle) is required when:
Length: Length is tricky in South Carolina, call the DOT to make sure. 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 able to 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 your pulling a 48′ or a 53′ (just to clarify) long 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. Pilot car (escort vehicle) certifications & requirements:
The South Carolina DOT is pretty relaxed on pilot cars. You are required to have the proper banner/sign stating “OVERSIZE LOAD” or “WIDELOAD” displayed either prominently on the top of the vehicle or on the 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 are required to have a CB radio or 2 way communication device and be in communication 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. Truck, trailer and shipment required signs, banners and flags:
Amber lights: you are required to have 1 rotating or strobing rear amber light on any vehicle that is shipping a load in excess of 12′ in width. Flags in safety colored orange or red with a minimum length in any direction of 12″ must be mounted on the 4 outer most corners of the entire overall shipment. Banner signs stating “OVERSIZE LOAD” OR “WIDELOAD” 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 have 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 help line: 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 DOT road closures and conditions reports.
South Carolina guidelines for movement of oversize and overweight loads.
South Carolina do it yourself single trip permit application – warning you can loose your money if you are not trained.
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.