Just how big can a truck or its load be?

A question of size

How wide? How long? How high?

These questions, when asked in relation to vehicles and their loads, probably bring large commercial vehicles to mind for most drivers. However, the rules on the maximum allowable sizes apply to light non-commercial vehicles as well.

The maximum height allowed is 4.15 m (13 feet seven inches). Beware of clearance signs as you approach overhead structures because loads that are of legal height may be too high to pass underneath. This has become enough of a problem that Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) as started to report bridge strike incidents to the public.

The maximum length allowed for a single vehicle is 12.5 m (41 feet four inches), with the exception of a bus, motor home or recreation vehicle. Those vehicles may be up to 14 m (45 feet eleven inches) long.

A vehicle's load must not project more than one metre (three feet three inches) ahead of the front bumper, 1.85 m ( six feet) behind the back of the vehicle or 4.5 m (14 feet nine inches) behind the centre of the last axle.

The maximum width allowed is 2.6 m (8.5 feet). Regardless of this limit, the load is not allowed to be wider than the sides of the vehicle carrying it. Commercial vehicles may obtain exemptions from basic size rules through the use of a special exemption permit, as long as the conditions of the permit are followed.

The regulations do provide for the use of permits for light vehicles as well, but the last time I checked with CVSE, the policy was that these permits would not be issued.

Where to Get Help

The advice in this column covers basic vehicle sizes most likely to be encountered by light vehicle drivers.

Things can get quite complicated from here if you add a trailer, are driving a pickup truck or delivery van or are carrying special commodities.

Perhaps the simplest way to get advice before you set out on your trip is to know your exact dimensions and contact the nearest weigh scale.

The inspectors there will provide expert advice and some scales are always open for your call.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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