Becoming a Pilot Car Driver for Oversized Vehicles
A pilot car driver is an important part of the team that transports an oversized load from place to place. This lead escort vehicle warns the surrounding or oncoming traffic that the truck’s load exceeds the normal width or weight. The oversized load carrier relies on the pilot car to help provide safe lane changes and to help the load carrier navigate winding curves or tight bridges.
Contact the Oversize Permit Unit or Pilot Car Unit of your state’s department of transportation. Apply for a permit. Inquire about certification or special classes required for your state. As of June 2011, Washington, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New York, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida require pilot car certification. Complete a program and receive certification as an escort vehicle operator. Many states recognize certification from other states.
Insure your vehicle for business use as pilot car. Discuss the premium increase with your insurance agent. You will need to factor this into the price you charge for your services.
Ensure that your vehicle is in top condition with excellent tires, comfortable seats and a wheelbase of at least 102 inches. Purchase a CB radio and antenna. Equip your vehicle with the appropriate warning lights, flags, flares and “Oversize Load” signs and identification placards that comply with your state’s vehicle code. Purchase an orange safety vest, cell phone, map books, GPS device, hard hat, fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
Research companies that are hiring pilot car drivers. This can be done on the Internet or in the yellow pages. Apply for a position. Produce your certification if required. Alternatively, start up on your own as a sole proprietor. You will need approximately $700 to $1,000 to set your vehicle up as a pilot car.
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