Commercial Vehicles - Meeting a Wide Load

Pilot VehicleCould you do an article on wide commercial loads when a pilot car is used? The reason I am asking is that I almost got run down once when a wide load came over into my lane, oncoming, to swing wide in order to make a right turn. Understandable, except there was no warning because the pilot car had already made the turn and was nowhere in sight.

Wide load, long load and the dimensional signs, flashing amber lights and pilot cars are all part of moving an oversize load on B.C.'s highways. They all play a part in advising the surrounding traffic that something out of the ordinary is present and that they must prepare for the possibility of taking out of the ordinary action because of it. Which combination of them must be used is contained in the conditions attached to the oversize vehicle permit that authorizes the move to take place.

These conditions may require the use of one or two pilot vehicles to precede or follow the oversize vehicle in order to warn approaching traffic that a hazard exists. The Commercial Transport Act Regulations even goes so far as to specify the distances pilot vehicles must maintain from the load they are escorting. However, the pilot cars do not have any authority to do anything other than warn approaching traffic.

In your case, the ultimate responsibility lies with the driver of the vehicle carrying the oversize load. In order to encroach on your lane or do anything else out of the ordinary it must be determined that the movement can be carried out in safety, without unreasonably affecting other traffic. It is a heavy responsibility as traffic is often reluctant to slow, wait or move out of the way and there may be short sight distances involved.

Knowing this, when you approach an oversize load you must be prepared for the possibility that you may have to slow, stop or change lanes to facilitate a movement that has already begun.

Reference Links:

Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement - Oversize Load Permit Conditions
Commercial Transport Act Regulations - Division 8, Pilot Cars and Signs
Motor Vehicle Act - Section 156, suspension of lane and line rules

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