Tag Archives: wide load

Brightly lit wide load a new one on me

The in basket: I saw an unusual sight while heading southbound on I-5 between Federal Way and Fife the other night.

A large truck approached from behind me with two flashing yellow lights, each on the end of a row of non-flashing horizontal lights that ran along the bottom of the cab. The two flashing lights were so bright they illuminated the pavement ahead of the truck. There also was a vertical double row of yellow lights above each headlight.

I slowed down to see what it was and found it to be a wide load, which was covered by blue tarp. A “Wide Load” sign was attached to the back, which had remarkably few lights.

There was no pilot car in front.

I’d never seen such a lit-up truck before and wondered if it was a new approach to warning other traffic of a wide load.

The out basket: State Trooper Russ Winger, public information officer for the State Patrol here, says, “I’m not aware of any new lighting requirements for wide loads. However, according to one of our local commercial vehicle troopers, the truck you describe may or may not require pilot and/or trail vehicles with special lighting and/or signage.

“The requirements vary depending upon the length, width, overhang, gross vehicle weight and hours of the day.

There are specific requirements for commercial carriers that operate under the SMVP (special motor vehicle permits). The DOT web site, under commercial carrier SMVP, has detailed information and requirements for these types of loads.

“Some truck owner-operators greatly enhance the basic lighting on the trucks. As long as the lighting is legal (color, brightness and location) more is probably better than less for safety.”

I scanned that Web site but the only mention of lighting I found seemed to require lights on the load’s overhang beyond normal legal widths, which I don’t recall seeing on the truck on I-5.

Perhaps some of you truckers can shed some light on this.