When are Oversize permits required?

If you have ever driven down the highway and watched a truck roll by with loads too tall, wide, or heavy for the road, you know how frustrating it can be. But did you know there are rules about what is allowed on the roads? Did you also know that some laws require special permits if your load is oversize or overweight? The following information will help guide you through the process of getting your Oversize permits:

A standard oversize permit is limited to specific days and miles.

An oversize permit is a legal document that allows you to operate your vehicle on the roadways. It does not guarantee passage and is valid for a limited period. Sometimes, it may be issued for your vehicle or the load being carried.

Oversize permits can be issued annually or as needed depending on the weather and other conditions. These permits are required when vehicles exceed statutory height/width limitations and gross vehicle weight limits specified in state law.

Permit applications must be submitted at least 45 days before the travel date unless specified by DOR or TDOT personnel. Permits will only be issued after travel has begun if emergency conditions exist due to severe weather events, such as snow storms, that would prevent safe movement without an oversized permit being provided before such an event occurs.

Daylight-only travel is usually allowed.

When traveling on interstate highways, daylight-only travel is usually allowed. “daylight” means traveling between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time. This restriction is usually put in place to allow adequate time for drivers to see large loads approaching them and make appropriate maneuvers around them.

A permit may be issued for the vehicle, not the load or both.

The oversize permits may be issued for the vehicle only and not for the load. The permit may be issued for the vehicle and cargo if they are in a combination unit or have separate registration numbers.

If you are traveling in a combination unit, the oversize permit must be displayed on the front bumper or fender of the lead vehicle. If you are traveling with two vehicles in combination, only one permit is needed.

Permits are issued based on axle spacing, gross weight, and height.

Oversize permits are required for vehicles that exceed the following:

  • Axle spacing: the distance between the first axle’s center and the last axle’s center.
  • Gross vehicle weight: the total weight of a vehicle, including passengers and cargo.
  • Height: the distance from the ground to its highest point above it.

If you need help determining which permits are required, approach a professional.

If you are unsure which permits are required, you can take the help of a professional who can guide you through the process. They will tell you what permits are needed and if travel restrictions are based on size or weight. Getting a permit varies from state to state, but generally, it involves filling out an application and providing proof of insurance. 


In summary, if your vehicle is oversized and you need to drive on the road with a width limit less than the length of your truck bed or trailer, you will need an oversized vehicle permit. If your truck bed or trailer is longer than 5m and has to be driven on public roads, then you need an Oversize Permit.