Seasonal Weight Restrictions
Increasing temperatures and spring thaw – here is what you need to know about seasonal weight restrictions!
Getting towards spring thaw, there may be areas that have seasonal weight limits where typical 80,000 lb restrictions can be reduced to lower weight limits. These are put into place to protect the roads and the roadbeds while it’s thawing.
So, what does this mean for me?
Let’s start with the roads that may have seasonal weight restrictions. Generally, interstates do not have seasonal weight restrictions as they are considered class A roads and have an 80,000lbs weight limit (unless there’s construction, a special situation, or a weather-related incident). Typically you will encounter seasonal weight restrictions as you get onto state highways and into the surface streets. This is usually when you’re headed towards a customer, park locations, or terminals. Remember, you can find out what roads are classified as “Class A roads” in an atlas.
How would I know what the weight restriction is?
If you’re running in the same area oftentimes you could refer to that local body of government to find out what their seasonal weight restrictions are. However, many drivers are in and out of many different states so it would be very difficult to plan for seasonal weight restrictions. Your best plan of action is to pay very close attention to signs!
What does my truck weigh?
Wight restriction signs are typically written in tons, so it’s important to know what your truck and trailer weigh in terms of tons. For example, what does my truck weigh when it’s empty? What could my truck weigh when it’s fully loaded? 1 ton = 2,000 pounds. So, your tractor and trailer while empty, is generally going to weigh around 35,000lbs (or about 18 tons). A loaded tractor and trailer typically weighs 80,000 pounds (or 40 tons).
What should I do if I believe I am over the weight limit?
If you find yourself in an area where you are over a weight limit or think you may be over a weight limit, get yourself safely pulled over as soon as possible and contact your safety team. They will be able to find a way to get you off that route.
Can this affect bridge laws?
It could. Some signs may limit you to more restrictive weights per axle vs. an overall weight. So be sure to pay attention to signs leading up to bridges as well!
To review, for a safe and successful spring, make sure you are reading signs, staying on paved surfaces, and be careful as the ground is thawing!