Preventing Low-Clearance Crashes

With proper planning, your trailer load should be able to clear any bridge you encounter on your routes. If there are bridges that have clearances that are too low, you'd avoid those -- or so you would hope. Unfortunately, even the best truck drivers can encounter a too-low clearance area if they don't take steps ahead of time to ensure a safe route. When you next set out to deliver a large load, be sure you've determined where you will -- and can -- go.

Double-Check Your GPS

Most of the time a GPS unit is invaluable; it lets you continue driving while figuring out directions, instead of having to stop and lose valuable time that could be spent making progress on the road. However, GPS instructions are not always accurate. They sometimes lead drivers onto roads where the bridges have clearances that are just too low. Always double-check the routes that your GPS tells you to take. You can do this easily ahead of time when planning your route initially, though once you're on the road, it can be more difficult. You may have to make judgment calls, such as trusting the GPS in areas you're familiar with but stopping to look up directions in areas you don't know well.

Stay Alert on Detours

It sounds so common sense to stay alert while driving a huge truck, but road hypnosis and general boredom can make you less attuned to the signs you're passing. If you find yourself re-routed onto a detour by construction or police activity, shake yourself and really pay attention to where you are. Just spotting a "low-clearance" sign is enough to save you a lot of trouble, but if you let yourself succumb to a driving trance, you may miss it no matter what your GPS says as you approach an overpass.

Use a Lowboy

Another strategy you can use is to get a lowboy to give yourself a few more inches of clearance. The dip in the middle of the trailer is often just enough to let you carry oversized loads along routes that might otherwise have problematic overpasses. You can find several styles of lowboy, so if you don't like what you see at first, keep looking. A company like Hauling Heavy can help you in your search. The search time and extra money may be very worth it in the end.

Most bridge and overpass heights follow national standards, but if you come across a lower one, you will need all the help possible to ensure your truck makes it under the overpass without a problem.