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Wisconsin Pilot Cars / Escort Vechicle Requirements

When Escort Vehicles are required:

On 2-way, 2-lane highways:

When any part of the load or vehicle extends beyond the left of roadway centerline - one escort vehicle

Width over 15' up to 16' (frequently) - one front escort vehicle

On any highway designated by permit - one or more escort vehicles

Width over 16'-2 (one front and one rear escort vehicle)

Over 125' long-2 (one front and one rear escort vehicle)

On multi-lane highways:

Same as 2- lane except when any part of vehicle/load extends beyond the left of the right hand lane.


Width over 14' (on certain highways) - one escort vehicle

Width over 16’-police/private escort: one rear on divided highways; one front and one rear on non-divided highways

Vehicle and Equipment Requirements


An escort vehicle shall be a Type 1 automobile or a single-unit motor truck of not more than 16,000 pounds actual gross vehicle weight, gross vehicle weight rating or registered weight. The escort vehicle shall be so designed as to afford its driver a clear and unobstructed view to the front, rear, right and left. Unobstructed view to the rear may be provided by outside mirrors on both sides of the vehicle.

Note: The escort vehicle sign may not exceed “overhang" limitations specified in s. 348.09, Stats., which states:

348.09 Projecting loads on side of vehicles. (1) No person, without a permit therefor, shall operate on a highway any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer carrying any load extending beyond the fender line on the left side or extending more than 6 inches beyond the fender line on the right side of the vehicle. In the case of motor trucks, “fender line" means the outermost limits of the rear fenders, flare boards or floor of the body, whichever projects outward the farthest.

This section applies even though the total width of the vehicle and load does not exceed the maximum permitted under s. 348.05.

Oversize load sign

A vehicle escorting an oversize vehicle shall have an “OVERSIZE LOAD" sign mounted above the roof of the escort vehicle and above any equipment mounted on the vehicle which would obscure an approaching driver's clear view of the sign. The lettering on the sign shall be 10 inches high in black on a solid yellow or amber background and may not have a stroke width of less than one and one-half inches. The visible surface of the sign may not be less than 5 feet wide and 12 inches high. The sign shall be visible to traffic approaching from the front of an escort vehicle preceding a load. In the case of an escort vehicle operating to the rear of the load being transported, the sign shall be visible to traffic approaching from the rear. No sign message may be displayed to traffic when the escort vehicle is not escorting an oversize load.

Warning lamps

(a) An escort vehicle shall be equipped with at least 2 amber warning lamps mounted on or above the vehicle roof. A warning lamp includes a single or multiple pulse strobe light. Each such warning lamp shall flash, pulse or rotate between 30 and 120 times per minute. The multiple flash effect shall be counted as a single flash. Each such warning lamp shall have sufficient intensity to be clearly visible and attention-attracting at a distance of 500 feet, under all conditions when the oversize or overweight vehicle or load is on the highway, except when visibility of the lamp is temporarily obstructed by a hill crest, a curve or an object such as another vehicle.

(b) The amber warning lamps shall be mounted at the same level, shall be separated laterally as much as possible, shall be visible all around, or 360°, and shall flash, pulse or rotate.


The department or local authority issuing an oversize or overweight permit may require that each escort vehicle be equipped with a radio transceiver, maintained in good working order, with which each escort vehicle operator can communicate with the other escorts and the operator of the vehicle being operated under permit. When radio equipment is required, the authority issuing the permit shall state the requirement on the oversize or overweight permit.

Source of information: 

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