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Tennessee Pilot Cars / Escort Vechicle Requirements

What are the Escort Requirements? 


10’ and under - No Escort Required 

10’1” – 12’6” - Front Escort on 2 Lane Routes 

12’7” – 14’ - Front Escort on 2 Lane Routes 

                                        Rear Escort on Interstate & 4 Lane Routes City 

                                        Limit Travel Restrictions 

13’6” - up - Front Escort Required 

                                        Rear Escort Required 

                                        City Limit Travel Restrictions


15’1” – UP - Front Escort with Height Pole


75’1” – 90’ - Light on Rear Required 

90’1” – 120’ - Rear Escort Required 

                                        City Limit Travel Restrictions 

120’ – up - Front and Rear Escorts Required 

Escort vehicles shall comply with the following requirements:

The escort vehicle must be a vehicle weighing more than 2,000 pounds with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating less than 18,000 pounds and must be properly licensed. It is to be used to escort one or more other permitted vehicles, when required, due to the size or character of the permitted vehicle(s) or load, in accordance with the conditions set forth in a permit issued by the TDOT Permit Office. 

Signs or placards identifying the name and telephone number of the business operating the escort vehicle must be attached in a conspicuous place on both the right and left sides of the vehicle. The signs or placards shall be at least 8” x 12” in size. 

All escort vehicles must be equipped with either a rotating amber light or a strobe type amber light which is visible from at least 500 feet and has a horizontal placement which shall be visible from all directions, 360º. 

Escort vehicles shall display bumper mounted or roof mounted yellow sign(s) reading “OVERSIZE LOAD” with black letters a minimum of 10 inches high and 1 ½ inch wide brush stroke, which must be visible from the front and rear.

Signs shall be of durable wood or metal construction. Heavy canvas or cloth signs, otherwise meeting the same requirements, will be permitted if they can be securely fastened to the escort vehicle against a flat surface backing up the entire area of the sign. 

Signs shall be in a good state of repair, clean and readable at all times. 

Two flags, either red or fluorescent orange in color and at least 18 inches square in size, shall be mounted at approximately 40º to 70º angle on the escort vehicle’s roof rack. 

During escort operations, all escort vehicles shall have the following equipment on board, and such equipment shall be in working order: 

  1. Operable two-way electronic communication devices, 
  2. Two 5-pound fire extinguishers, 
  3. Stop and go paddle that is round or octagonal in shape and at least 18 inches in diameter, or 18 inches square, with 6 inch letters. 
  4. Safety orange vest, shirt, or jacket, 
  5. Red hand-held flag (18” square in size), 
  6. Two oversized load banners (yellow with black lettering), 
  7. Hard hat (no color specified), and 
  8. Reflecting triangles or 18 inch high traffic cones. 
  9. Additional equipment recommended, but not mandated, unless otherwise specifically required in these rules: Hand-held two-way electronic communications, Flares, Map(s), and Height indicator

Source of information: 

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