How far can a ladder or lumber stick out from the rear of a vehicle?

How far can something like a ladder or lumber stick out from the back/rear of my car, truck, or vehicle?

Have you ever wondered what the law is in your state concerning protrusions from a vehicle? Like when you’re hauling a ladder or lumber for that new project. Most states have different rules so it’s important for you to not only have the red flag but to know the limitations of protrusion lengths your state legally permits. If you have something sticking out too far from your car or truck you can be issued a citation or worse, a fine. We’ll go over the basics of having something protruding from the front or back of your vehicle and what the limitations are in your state.

Over loaded van with lumber on top, How much is the legal limit? Find out what your state laws are below. Photo credit.

Let’s first go over some of the basics.

Properly securing your item.

One of the more important things here is to ensure you don’t lose whatever you intend to move. This is why properly securing your long item to the car or truck you intend on transporting it on. When securing lighter items we suggest using a small rope as long as you can tie a good knot. If you’re not the greatest with knots consider double tieing in if this is the only option you have. For heavy items, we suggest using ratchet straps to secure your long item (lumber, poles, pipe, ladders, etc) when possible. We do not recommend using bungee cords for securing anything under any circumstances. They are too stretchy and simply can’t be counted on 100%. The last thing you need is an insurance claim.

Red flag rules.

Do I have to tie a red flag on anything that sticks out of the back or front of my vehicle? The rule of thumb on this is if it sticks out more than 3 feet, yes. It doesn’t matter if it extends 3 feet from the front bumper or 3 feet from the rear bumper down low, or on top on the hood, or in racks. If it protrudes more than 3 feet in either direction, you must attach a red-colored warning flag to each protruding end.

What the laws say about objects protruding from the front or rear of vehicles.

Considering the safety of other motorists as well as public property, there are various laws in place to limit how far an item can overhang or protrude the rear end of vehicles. They also cover properly marking the item being transported at each end. As mentioned earlier if you choose not to properly flag or mark the protrusion you could be subject to a ticket or a fine or both. The USDOT has federal regulations that cover this area of the law. It basically says that if you have something protruding over 3 feet in the front and/or 4 feet from the rear of the car or truck it must be properly marked with a red or orange safety flag. It should be noted that objects protruding more than 4 inches from the sides of a vehicle must be properly marked as well.

Proper marking of objects protruding from the front or rear of your vehicle.

During daylight hours. During daylight hours protrusions can be marked with a red or orange safety/warning colored flag. Flags must be a minimum of 18 inches square.

During nighttime hours. During the hours of darkness, objects protruding from vehicles must be illuminated with a red lamp placed at the far rear extreme of the item protruding from the rear.

Examples of items that may be too long for your car or truck.

  • Lumber
  • Poles
  • Ladders
  • Pipe
  • Building materials
  • Kayaks
  • Canoes
  • Surfboards
  • Nursery stock
  •  

    Considering the USDOT doesn’t have authority on state and local roads, let’s look at the individual state laws on items sticking out (protruding) from vehicles.

     

     

     

    Montana frost law restrictions.

    2021 Montana winter frost/spring thaw laws and seasonal weight restrictions.

    Typically seasonal weight restrictions start in December. However, you will need to check with the Montana DOT first if considering travel during the winter months. You can phone them: (406)444-6372 or visit their website for live information: https://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/restrictions.shtml

    2021 policy update: load and speed limit.
    Special winter permits.

    Weight restrictions.

    The load limit of any single axle is 8 tons. On any tandem axles is 16 tons or 400 lbs. per inch width of the tire. No single axle may exceed 16,000 lbs. No tandem axles may exceed 32,000 pounds.

    Front axle: 600 pounds per inch width of tire will be allowed regardless of the seasonal load limit in effect.

    Current closures.

    https://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/alerts.shtml

     

    See also:

    Tire chain laws.
    Tire chain laws by location.
    Trucking regulations.
    Federal bridge formula.
    Exemptions from seasonal restrictions

    Delaware State Shipping Regulations

    2021 Delaware state shipping laws, regulations, rules, and limitations for oversize and heavy-haul trucking.

    Delaware

    The great state of Delaware official seal.

     

     

     

     

    Delaware Oversize Shipping Trucking & Transport.


    Legal Loads.

    Length: 60’ (53’ trailer)
    Overhang: 3’ front; 6’ rear (included in legal allowable length)
    Weight: GVW  80,000 lbs., or 20,000 lbs. per axle.

    Delaware

    Routine trucking & transport permits.

    Length: 100’
    Overhang: over 5’ must be permitted
    Weight: GVW 120,000
    Width:  14’
    Height: 15’

    How to apply for oversize and heavy-haul trucking permits.

    Delaware Department of Transportation
    DMV DELDOT Hauling Permits Section
    PO Drawer E, Room 208
    Dover, DE  19903

    Phone: 302-744-2700
    Hours: 8 AM until 4:30 PM
    Website: www.osow.deldot.gov
    E-mail: haulpermit@state.de.us

    Basic Oversize permit is valid for 5 days and costs $10

    Pilot Car – Escort Car Requirements.

    Width over 12’ requires 1 escort car, over 14’ requires 2 escort cars, over 15’ requires State Police escort.
    Length over 100’ requires 1 car, over 110’ requires 2 cars, over 120’ requires State Police escort.
    Height: None unless specified on the permit after obtained.

    Travel times and restrictions.

    Travel is permitted from sunrise to sunset with no weekend travel permitted. Travel is also prohibited on the following holidays: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Election Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. On days preceding a holiday, day movement must stop at 12 noon. Movement may continue the day following the holiday after 12 noon. Be certain to refer to your oversize or heavy-haul trucking permit for any other instructions.

    Cities in Delaware: Arden village, Ardencroft village, Ardentown village, Bear, Bellefonte, Bethany Beach, Bethel, Blades, Bowers, Bridgeville, Brookside, Camden, Cheswold, Claymont, Clayton, Dagsboro, Delaware City, Delmar, Dewey Beach, Dover, Dover Base Housing, Edgemoor, Ellendale, Elsmere, Farmington, Felton, Fenwick Island, Frankford, Frederica, Georgetown, Glasgow, Greenville, Greenwood, Harrington, Hartly, Henlopen Acres, Highland Acres, Hockessin, Houston, Kent Acres, Kenton, Laurel, Leipsic, Lewes, Little Creek, Long Neck, Magnolia, Middletown, Milford, Millsboro, Millville, Milton, Newark, New Castle, Newport, North Star, Ocean View, Odessa, Pike Creek, Rehoboth Beach, Rising Sun-Lebanon, Riverview, Rodney Village, Seaford, Selbyville, Slaughter Beach, Smyrna, South Bethany, Townsend, Viola, Wilmington, Wilmington Manor, Woodside, Woodside East, Wyoming.

     

    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 Delaware State DOT Permits office before commencing movement.
    delaware-state

    Delaware state flag.

    New York frost law restrictions.

    2021 New York winter frost/spring thaw laws and seasonal weight restrictions.

    Our research has turned up very little about New York state frost and thaw laws. Since a special permit is required in order to move a shipment the NYDOT determines the required route or denies the request until a later date. This makes projection for logistics providers difficult. However you may wish to visit their website: https://www.dot.ny.gov/nypermits/special-hauling-permits

    Overweight restrictions.

    We strongly suggest contacting them via phone:

    Central Office 50 Wolf Road, 1st floor, Albany, NY 12232 (888) 783-1685
    Region 2 207 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501-2869 (315) 793-2356
    Region 3 333 E. Washington Street, Syracuse, NY 13202-1466 (315) 428-4388
    Region 4 1530 Jefferson Road, Rochester, NY 14623-3161 (585) 272-3470
    Region 5 100 Seneca Street, Buffalo, NY 14203-3088 (716) 847-3271
    Region 6 107 Broadway, Hornell, NY 14843 (607) 324-8514
    Region 7 317 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601-3784 (315) 785-2325
    Region 8 4 Burnett Blvd., Poughkeepsie, NY 12603-2594 (845) 437-3331
    Region 9 44 Hawley Street, Binghamton, NY 13901-3200 (607) 721-8082
    Region 10 Veteran’s Highway, Hauppauge, NY 11787-5518 (631) 952-6020

    Oversize restrictions.

    There are no restrictions (we are aware of) for oversize loads during the winter and spring thaw months. This is not to suggest that no maximums will be imposed at any given time. Be sure to check with the NY DOT load permitting office for clarification if you plan on transporting a oversize object during the winter and spring seasons.

     

    See also:

    Tire chain laws.
    Tire chain laws by location.
    Trucking regulations.
    Federal bridge formula.
    Exemptions from seasonal restrictions.

     

    2021 Idaho State Shipping Regulations

    2021 Idaho state DOT shipping laws, rules, regulations and limitations for oversize and heavy-haul trucking permits. Pilot car requirements.

    Please share your knowledge of Idaho regulations with others below.

    Idaho

    The great state of Idaho seal.

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

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

    Idaho pilot cars and truck escorts for hire.
    Idaho oversize and heavy-haul trucking companies for hire.
    Idaho oversize and heavy-haul trucking permits.

    Do I need a trucking permit? Legal load limits.

    Idaho maximum load limits until a trucking permit is required:

    Length: A 75’ length is the legal limit for any combined truck and trailer in transport.
    Width:  A maximum of 8’ 6” wide.
    Height: A maximum of 14’
    Weight: A maximum of 80,000 lbs. total (GVW) with no more than 14,000 lbs. on the steer axle and 20,000 lbs. on any other single axle.
    Overhang: 4’ in front of trailer and no more than 10’ from the rear axle of trailer to the end of load.

    Routine oversize and heavy haul trucking permits.

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

    Length: 110’ on 2 lane roads and 115’ on 4 lane roads.
    Weight: 5 axles 112,000 6 axles 118,000
    Width: 16’
    Height: 14’6”
    Overhang:
    Notes:

    Idaho superloads.

    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:

    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: Over 100’ 2 Lanes requires 1 car.  Over 115’ Interstate requires 1 car.
    Width: Over 12’1” 2 Lanes requires 1 car., Over 15’1” 4 Lanes requires 1 car.
    Height: Over 16’ requires 1 car.
    Overhang:
    Notes:

    Pilot cars/escort vehicle certifications and requirements.

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

    Legal travel times for oversize and heavy haul loads.

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

    Travel permitted from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.  If 10’ wide or less, travel is permitted 24/7.

    Idaho DOT contact information and notes.

    Idaho DOT office and permit contact information:

    How to apply for trucking permits:
    Idaho Transportation Department
    3311 W State St
    Boise. ID

    208-334-8420 Phone
    800-662-7133 Phone within Idaho
    Basic fee is $13.00
    Permit is valid for 5 days
    Idaho State Trucking information website: http://itd.idaho.gov/dmv

    Port of Entry Information.

    Hollister: 21 miles south of Twin Falls 208-3322-7844.
    East Boise: 11 miles east of Boise 208-334-3272.
    Marsing: 6 miles south of US 55/US 95 208-896-4814.
    Lewiston: 1 mile east of Lewiston 208-799-4824.
    Huetter: 2 miles east of Coer d’Alene 208-769-1551.
    Bonner’s Ferry: (Moyle Jct.) Jct. of US 95 & US 2 208-267-2486.
    Haugan:  15 miles east of state line 406-678-4257.
    Sage Junction: 2 miles north of Roberts 208-228-3636.
    Inkom: 8 miles south of Pocatello 208-775-3322.
    Cottrell:  8 miles south of Twin Falls 208-349-5650.

    Ports of entry references.

    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 Idaho State DOT Permits office before commencing movement.

    idaho-state

    Ontario Frost Laws

    2020 Ontario winter frost/spring thaw laws and seasonal weight restrictions.

    Frost - thaw laws Ontario.

    Restrictions during winter frost and spring thaw law months.

    All annual and project heavy haul trucking permits are not valid on any highways unless otherwise specified on the permit during frost or thaw months:

    • March and April in Southern Ontario
    • March, April and May in Northern Ontario

    For the purposes of this restriction the Province of Ontario is divided, west to east, by:

    • A line formed by the Severn River to Regional Rd. 169
    • Regional Rd. 169 from Washago to Hwy. 12
    • Hwy. 12, from Regional Rd. 169 to Hwy. 7, north of Sunderland
    • Hwy. 7, from Hwy. 12 to Regional Rd. 7B at Carleton Place
    • Regional Rd. 7B to Hwy. 15
    • Regional Rd. 29 to Arnprior

    Single trip permits for transporting heavy haul shipments on highways not designated in Schedules 1, 2 and 3, may be issued but are subject to axle weight controls established by the Ministry of Transportation.

    Pursuant to The Highway Traffic Act, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation will impose reduced load weight limits for designated parts of the provincial highways between March 1 and April 30, for Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 roadways, and from March 1 to June 30 for Schedule 3 roadways.

    Spring frost/thaw law weight maximums (restrictions) for Ontario:

    Reduced loads.

    Schedule 1.

    Pursuant to the Highway Traffic Act, the ministry will impose reduced load limits for those designated parts of the King’s Highways listed in Schedule 1, when appropriate, between March 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020: Verification.

    Schedule 2.

    Pursuant to the Highway Traffic Act, the ministry will impose reduced load limits for those designated parts of the King’s Highways listed in Schedule 2, when appropriate, between March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020.

    When signs are posted, the following Highways will have a Reduced Load Limit for their ENTIRE length: Verification.

    Schedule 3.

    Pursuant to the Highway Traffic Act, the ministry will impose reduced load limits for those designated parts of the King’s Highways/Roads listed in Schedule 3, when appropriate, between March 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019.

    When signs are posted, the Highway/Roads within the following Territories will have a Reduced Load Limit: Verification.

    Source: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/trucks/load-restrictions.shtml

    It is important for truck drivers and trucking company dispatchers to make certain they are operating in accordance with the Ontario posted frost/thaw laws and seasonal weight restrictions. Changes to these restrictions is subject to change hourly during the winter and spring months. You are expected to be aware of these changes and operate accordingly. It is possible that heavy fines may be levied as well as your truck being ordered out of service and not permitted to travel. We suggest you bookmark this page for future reference.

    Seasonal weight restrictions limit the maximum weight of vehicles allowed to travel on certain roads as a way to help prevent damages to public assets and protect public investment in the roadways.

    Please share your knowledge with others by commenting below:

    New Brunswick frost laws

    2020 New Brunswick winter frost/spring thaw laws and seasonal weight restrictions.

    It should be noted New Brunswick has not updated their official spring weight restrictions page governing the winter frost and spring thaw laws since the winter of 2017. What this tells us is the information they last published seems to be working for them now so there’s no need to update it. If you wish to verify this by speaking with them personally you can call Shawn Berry the communications official for the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure 506-453-5634.

     

     

    See also:

    Tire chain laws.
    Tire chain laws by location.
    Trucking regulations.
    Federal bridge formula.

    Oversize load sign

    Oversize load sign:

    Oversize-load-sign

    This is a typical oversize load sign that is required by all states for oversize trucking companies and pilot car/truck escort companies.

    Oversize load sign as required by state law for oversize trucking companies and pilot cars (truck escorts).

    The above illustrated sign is typical of what is required to be attached to the front most extremity of a semi truck that is in the process of transporting a oversize load. It is also required that this be placed in the read most extremity of the load as well. Usually this is placed on the rear bumper of the trailer the semi truck is using to move the shipment. If overhang is an issue, red flags are usually attached to it to signal drivers of the potential danger or risk. Pilot cars and truck escort vehicles are also required to either have one of these signs attached to both the rear and front bumper of their vehicles or mounted on the roof of the vehicle with the sign facing in both the front and rear directions.