Not all loads can fit perfectly on a flat bed trailer. The physical dimensions of the load may exceed that of the trailer: the load may be too tall, wide or heavy. In such cases heavy haul trucking may be the only feasible option to transport your items.
In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know about trucking in the heavy haulage Melbourne industry including why you might need it.
What is Heavy Haul Trucking?
Heavy haul trucking—also referred to as super-load or overweight trucking—requires specialised trailers designed to carry large loads.
Why You Need it?
Transporting heavy loads isn’t a task to be taken lightly. Incorrect transportation of heavy loads may have disastrous end results. Injury can either happen to:
- The load itself
- Your vehicle
- Other motorists
- City property such as road signage
This is why there are laws regarding heavy haul trucking in many states. The size and weight of loads are regulated in many states and vary depending on the country you’re driving in.
We list a few examples of the limits in various countries.
In Australia there are varying limits that constitute oversized loads. Generally heavy loads are considered to be 5m wide, 30m long. However, the height will vary from state to state.
In the US, heavy loads are those that are characterised by the following:
- Exceed these standard dimensions: 13.6” height and 8.6” width. The length will vary from one state to the next.
- The load can’t be reduced to match the legal dimensions.
- The load must exceed the total gross weight of 80 000lb for the trailer, truck and unit shipped combined.
Before transporting a heavy load, you must ensure that you also meet the following requirements.
Do You Have a Permit?
If the object exceeds the stipulated dimensions, you’re required to obtain the right permit to transport it. Fail to produce the required documentation and you risk paying a fine.
Adhere to the Road Restrictions
You must also adhere to the stipulated road restrictions. This includes observing the times you can transport the load.
Depending on the state you’re driving in, there are specific times of the day you can’t transport heavy loads. In addition, there are also certain routes you’re prohibited from driving on when you’re transporting heavy loads.
As a driver of a heavy load truck you must be aware of the following:
- Hazards such as low bridges or road works present on the route you’re planning on driving. This information can easily be obtained by liaising with local councils.
- Identify all the fuel stops along the route.
- Be aware of issues that may affect your scheduling.
Aside from having a permit, drivers of heavy haulage trucks must have escort vehicle operators depending on the driving situation.
You need to be accompanied by certified escort vehicle operators throughout the drive. Escort vehicles serve to signal other motorists of the approaching heavy load truck, so they drive with extra caution.
These operators will also monitor the load during the drive to make sure it’s stable at all times.
Certain loads will require multi-axle trailers or custom-made components. These trailers are available in varying dimensions which can be between 5 and 10 as well as 13 and 20 axles.
What Constitutes Heavy Haul Equipment?
The truck alone isn’t enough to transport a heavy load. You require other equipment such as:
- Stretch trailers
- Double drops
- Removable goosenecks
- Extendable trailers
Good to Know
Drivers of heavy haulage trucks are required to practice extra caution during the drive. This includes the following.
Given the nature of the load being transported, drivers must exercise safe following distances. As a general rule of thumb:
- If you’re driving a 7.5m long vehicle, you must leave a gap of approximately 60m between your vehicle and the one ahead.
- If you’re driving a road train, leave a gap of almost 200m.
Pay attention to the road signage as you drive. Don’t drive past a bridge load limit or gross mass limit sign if your vehicle exceeds the stated limit.
Use Low Gears
When driving heavy haulage trucks, we advise you go easy on the gears. Use low gears to make it easier to control your speed without having to rely on the primary brake. Using this approach will minimise damage to the brakes as well as risk of accidents.
Heavy haul trucking is crucial for the safe transportation of your load. This way you’ll reach the intended destination in one peace with fewer problems and no casualties along the way. Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead!