What is Oversize Trucking?

There are many types of specialized trucking that may interest you over the course of your career. In most cases, you will want to have some experience between graduating from a commercial driver’s license (CDL) school and getting one of these specialized jobs. This is because they require expertise and drivers who have spent more time on the road are usually more prepared to handle the unique responsibilities and challenges.

However, having an idea of the many jobs that are out there can help you plan for your career. One option is oversize trucking, which involves transporting loads with large dimensions and weight. Heavy-haul truckers are in high demand, although there are many unique considerations for this type of career.

What is Considered an Oversize Load?

Each state sets its own weight and size limits for which vehicles are considered oversize. In general, anything greater than 8.6 feet wide, 13.6 feet tall, 53 feet long, or 80,000 pounds of gross weight is a heavy load. These hauls may include specialized equipment, airline parts, or mobile homes.

Special Requirements for Overweight Trucking

Before transporting an overweight load, the trucking company will need to obtain all necessary permits for the regions that the vehicle will be traveling through. Each state, municipality, and county have different requirements for these types of hauls.

The route needs to be carefully planned, and unlike other over-the-road (OTR) jobs where the driver has some flexibility with which roads they use, oversize truckers will need to follow the route on their trip plan as closely as possible.

In most cases, the vehicle will need to be clearly labeled as an “oversize load.” In some areas, especially if the terrain is more difficult to navigate, there will need to be pilot cars, also known as guide vehicles. These are cars or trucks that travel in front of and/or behind the oversize truck. They alert others on the road that an oversize load is approaching and inform the trucker about any approaching road hazards.

Doubles & Triples

A doubles/triples CDL endorsement may be necessary for some oversized loads. Having this on your license can open up more job opportunities, even if it is not required for every haul.

Considerations for Oversize Truckers

If you are considering working toward a career as a heavy-haul trucker, you should be prepared for the challenges it can present. Driving any semi-truck is a big responsibility and can take some getting used to. This is even more true when the truck is oversized. 

The haul may block your visibility and requires extreme care to transport safely. This type of job is not generally a good fit for new CDL drivers. In general, oversize truckers have several years of experience with other types of freight before transitioning into heavy-haul trucking.

Planning for a Specialized Trucking Career

If you love the idea of hauling oversize freight, the first step is getting your CDL. Focus on building your skills and plan to have another type of trucking job first. Our program can help you earn your license in as little as four weeks and start your trucking career with the skills you need to succeed.

To learn more about our CDL training, contact us today.

What to Do After a Failed CDL Test

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the first step to a rewarding career in the trucking industry. In order to do this, you need to pass two exams: a written test and a skills test. Some drivers fail these the first time and although this can be discouraging, the good news is that it isn’t the end of your trucking career.

After a failed CDL test, it’s important to take an honest look at why you didn’t pass and take the necessary steps to improve. Many great truckers did not pass these tests on the first try and taking the test again shows that you are willing to keep going even when faced with challenges.

If you failed your CDL test, here are some steps to take:

1. Know State Rules for Retesting

Each state has different rules for how soon you can retake one of the CDL tests after failing it. In New Mexico, you can take the written exam up to twice in a seven-day period. There is no limit on the number of times you can attempt to pass. For the skills test, you will need to wait one week to retest, and you can take the exam up to 3 times within the year. After this, you will need to wait one year from the date of your first attempt before you can try again.

2. Study/Practice the Material You Struggled With

If you failed the written portion of the test, re-read the relevant sections of the CDL manual. For the general knowledge portion, these are Introduction (1), Driving Safely (2), Cargo (3), and Combination Vehicles (6). The material for the endorsement tests is covered in Doubles and Triples (7), Tank Vehicles (8), and Hazardous Materials (9).

There are “Test Your Knowledge” sections throughout the manual with practice questions. Make sure you know the answers to these and ask your instructors for help if you are having trouble with the material.

If you failed the skills test, start with the section of the exam that you struggled with. If this was the pre-trip inspection, try making flashcards and running through the steps as many times as possible before you take the test again.

For driving skills, ask your instructors to give you some pointers and to supervise practice focused on the areas you had the most trouble with.

3. Take a Deep Breath

Many students who fail the CDL test know the material and are good drivers, but they get nervous when testing. Before you go in to retake the test, take a moment to calm down and focus on the task at hand. Being able to handle pressure is an important skill for a truck driver to have, so learning how to do this before you go out on your first solo trip is essential.

If you do make a mistake during the exam, simply correct it and move on. If it wasn’t a safety-related error, don’t panic. The instructors use a point system that calculates how many non-safety errors you can make without failing.

We Give Our Students the Tools They Need to Succeed

At Phoenix Truck Driving School, our highly skilled instructors are here to help you pass the CDL test. We help students earn their commercial license and enter the rewarding trucking industry. You could be on the road and earning in as little as four weeks and many of our students have offers before they even graduate.

To learn more about how we can help you pass your CDL exam, contact us today.