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Holiday Restrictions For Oversize Loads: How to Avoid Delays

December 21, 2022
 By Jacob Lee
Holiday Restrictions For Oversize Loads: How to Avoid Delays
Last Modified: June 2, 2023
Holiday restrictions for oversized loads can be a real hassle. We’ll walk you through what holidays states restrict oversize transport and how to avoid them.

Holiday restrictions for oversize loads are a huge factor you need to consider when transporting over dimensional freight. There are many holidays in a year and numerous states restrict the transportation of oversize freight during these periods. This means shipping large objects during these times of year will require careful planning on your part. 

Each state’s unique Department of Transportation (DOT) has slightly different holiday restrictions for oversize loads. However, most state DOTs restrict loads from being transported on these federal holidays:

  • New years day
  • Memorial day
  • Labor day
  • Independence day
  • Thanksgiving day
  • Christmas day

We’ll discuss why there are holiday restrictions for oversize loads and some of the things that you can do to avoid these restrictions when you ship these goods. 

A semi truck transporting a military truck on the highway

Why Are Oversize Loads Restricted On Holidays?

The reason oversize loads are restricted during many holidays is to prevent congestion on roads and highways. During these days of the year, travel is intense because many drivers on the road are meeting their friends and family. This creates heavy traffic conditions which can be quite unsafe. 

Oversize loads are an inherently dangerous type of freight to ship due to their size and dimensions. This is why many oversized loads are accompanied by safety equipment such as the following:

  • Banners and signs
  • Flags
  • Lights

Many oversized loads are often accompanied by escort vehicles that help warn other drivers on the road of the oversized load’s presence. Because oversize loads are so large and even require other vehicles to travel with them, they can worsen the traffic conditions on holidays. 

Oversize loads add to the unsafe driving conditions that already exist during the holidays. Therefore, many states restrict their transportation of these goods for safety reasons. Another reason for the restrictions is that oversize/overweight cargo often travels too slowly to keep up with the flow of traffic.  

Semi trucks already move slower than most other vehicles on the road. Not only this, but semi trucks also require more time to speed up and slow down. These problems are amplified for semi trucks carrying oversize freight because the freight is large and weighs so much.

States restrict the movement of oversized freight shipments on holidays as a means to prevent traffic congestion as much as possible.  

Check out our article on heavy haul shipping regulations to find out more about the general rules for shipping this kind of freight.

A large rectangular object on a flatbed trailer

What Holidays Are Oversized Load Shipments Forbidden From Travel?

As we discussed above, states restrict the movement of oversized goods on the federal holidays we listed above. As a refresher, those holidays consist of the following:

  • New years day
  • Memorial day
  • Labor day
  • Independence day
  • Thanksgiving day
  • Christmas day

Many businesses around the country recognize these holidays which is why so people many are able to travel on them. That said, there are some other holidays that states restrict the transportation of heavy haul freight on. 

Some of these holidays are federal while others are not and they include the following:

  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Washington’s birthday
  • Good Friday
  • Election day
  • Columbus day
  • Veterans day
  • Presidents day

Numerous states around the U.S. have additional stipulations regarding heavy haul runtimes. We’ve listed some of these stipulations below:

  • If a holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following it will also be considered a holiday and transportation of heavy haul goods will be restricted. 
  • If the holiday falls on a Monday, transportation of heavy haul freight on the preceding Friday should is allowed until noon. 
  • Transportation of heavy haul freight is permitted on certain holidays, but a curfew restricting the hours of operation is in place.
  • Transportation of heavy haul freight is permitted on certain holidays, but certain roads and highways forbid heavy haul shipments from traveling on them. 

Every state is different, so never assume the runtime restrictions are the same for every state. Always research the holiday runtimes for the state or states that your freight will travel through. 

An oversized cylinder on a large barge

How To Avoid Runtime Holiday Restrictions For Oversize Loads

One of the worst parts about holiday runtime restrictions for oversize loads is that freight shipments typically pick up this time of year. The months of August to October are particularly busy times of the year for the freight industry.  

To show how much freight is shipped during these times of the year, consider the data in the table below.

Peak Season Statistics

Holiday Retail Sales During Peak Season (2020)789 Billion USD
Amount Of Holiday Retail Sales That Were From eCommerce (2020)210 Billion USD
Amount of Increase In Retail Sails From 2019-20208.3 Percent

Despite these times of the year being busy for regular and oversize freight alike, we have some tips that can help you get around the runtime restrictions. 

1. Ship Before the Holiday

Shipping oversized freight before a major holiday is one way of avoiding holiday runtime restrictions. That said, organizing and preparing an oversized shipment is a lengthy and difficult process. 

Some of the things that have to be done to prepare an oversized shipment includes:

  • Finding a route that oversized freight can travel down
  • Securing the equipment to transport and load the oversized freight
  • Taking the time to apply for and fill out an oversized permit

The longer it takes to make these preparations, the more likely the freight will be in transit during the holiday you’re trying to avoid. When organizing a shipment before a holiday, make sure that you’ll have ample time to make the necessary preparations for the shipment. 

We Organize and Plan for Holidays Restrictions 

Reach out to us at (855) 490-2433 or fill out our quick form and a live agent will be in touch shortly to carefully plan your route and secure a carrier ASAP!

Reach Out Today

2. Ship After the Holiday

When you know that your shipment of oversized freight will be in transit on a holiday, consider waiting after the holiday to ship the goods out instead. You don’t want your receiver to wait too long, so make sure to only use this strategy when the holiday is absolutely unavoidable. 

Communicating with your receiver that their shipment will be delayed by the holidays and that you’ll ship their oversized goods the day after is also important. One benefit of shipping after a holiday is that you’ll have more time to plan your shipments out. 

3. Communicate With the Receiver About Possible Holiday Restrictions

If you’re shipping your oversize freight out to a customer before an approaching holiday, you should communicate that holiday runtime restrictions can be a factor. Doing so will inform the receiver of the oversize freight that it might take their goods slightly longer to arrive than usual due to the runtime restrictions. 

Not informing your receiver of these delays may cause them to be disappointed and even upset when they see the estimated delivery date that after booking their shipment with you. 

Read our article about heavy haul freight brokers to discover how they can help you avoid holiday runtime restrictions and other ways they can organize your shipments for you.

Heavy Haul and Oversize Can Move Your Freight Around the Holidays

The team at Heavy Haul and Oversize will make sure that your goods will get to you in a timely manner. Although there are many challenges to shipping oversize goods, we pride ourselves on planning out routes and securing a carrier for our customers as fast as possible. 

Depending on the exact dimensions and weight of your oversize freight, you’ll need the following trailers to move your goods:

  • Removable gooseneck trailers (RGN)
  • Standard flatbed trailers
  • Lowboy trailers
  • Double drop deck trailers

Our long list of carriers that we conduct business with can use these trailers to move your oversize freight. Don’t wait any longer and fill out your quote today or call our team at (855) 490-2433 for more information. 

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