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Pilot Car Requirements in Heavy Haul

Although pilot car requirements in heavy haul are similar throughout all Canadian provinces and the United States, they do vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. As such, if you will be transporting loads that require a pilot car anywhere outside of Alberta, please check local permits and regulations beforehand.

This article covers pilot car requirements in heavy haul for Alberta.

When Is a Pilot Car Required in Alberta?

Pilot cars are required for extraordinary long, wide, tall, and heavy loads as well as overhang loads. Here are the specific rules for when you need one or two pilot cars.

Pilot Car Requirements in Heavy Haul

Length Pilot Car Requirement

Shipments in excess of 34 meters (112 feet, 2 inches) require a rear pilot car when traveling on single lane roads. If your shipment is over dimensional or more than 38 meters long (125 feet, 5 inches) you will need a front pilot car and a rear pilot car.

Width Pilot Car Requirement

A front pilot car is required in Alberta when the shipment is wider than 3.85 meters (12 feet, 7 inches) and you are traveling on a single land road. If you are traveling on multiple-lane roads above this width, you will need a rear pilot car. If the width of your shipment exceeds 4.45 meters (14 feet, 6 inches) you will need both front and rear pilot cars on single lane roads and for shipments wider than 5.5 meters (18 feet, 2 inches) you will need front and rear pilot cars on all roads.

Height Pilot Car Requirement

Alberta generally does not require pilot cars for high loads because the province has designated routes for such shipments. Check the Alberta DOT high load corridor page for information.

Weight Pilot Car Requirements

The Alberta DOT does not have a weight requirement for shipments providing that you are able to maintain normal minimum highway speeds.

Overhang Pilot Car Requirements

If your shipment has an overhang of more than 6.5 meters (21 feet,5 inches) Alberta requires a rear pilot car on all roads. For shipments with an overhand of more than 9 meters, (29 feet, 8 inches) you will need both front and rear pilot vehicles.

Pilot Car Requirements

Operators of pilot vehicles throughout Canada do not need any special DOT certification to operate like is required in some states like New York. However, the vehicle needs to have a sign box that is lighted. It must measure at least 180 cm x 35 cm x 10 cm (72″ x 14″ x 4″). There must be two 175 mm (7 inch) diameter flashing lights mounted at the top of the sign box to each side along with two amber rotating or strobing lights of at least 203mm (8 inches) mounted between the top flashing lights.

The sign but must light up and needs to be visible from at least 200 meters (656 feet). The sign box shall have either a red and white “D” sign or black letters with a yellow background saying LONG LOAD, WIDE LOAD, or OVERSIZE LOAD as is appropriate. If your sign only has the “D” it must be at least 20 cm (8 inches) in height and have a 4 cm (1 5/8 inch) thickness to the line. The sign box will be mounted on the top of the vehicle and will be covered when not in use.

Additional Necessary Pilot Car Items

Pilot cars must have a CB radio or high-powered two way radio, a fire extinguisher of type A, B, and C of two liters or more, and a first aid kit. Additionally, the pilot car should have three traffic cones, a reflective vest to be worn with working, a slow-stop sign, three orange or read safety colored flags all no less than 40 cm x 40 cm (16 inches by 16 inches), a hard hat, and a nose cone flashlight, all in working order. Although there are no licensure requirements beyond a license to operate a vehicle needed for pilot car drivers, is necessary that the driver knows the requirements of his vehicle. And, the driver of the truck carrying the shipment must be familiar with the requirements regarding when a pilot car is needed and how many.

Vectra Heavy Haulers understands all the nuances with the pilot car requirements while transporting heavy haul whether it is within the Canadian provinces, in the United States or cross border transportation. Contact us today and let us help you with your next heavy haul load.