How Much Does a Pilot Car Driver Make an Hour?

December 26, 2023

You’ve probably seen them on highways: SUVs, pickup trucks and even compact cars accompanying oversized truckloads. Variously called flag car, pilot vehicle or escort car, these vehicles help keep the road safe for everyone and protect cargo. Drivers of these vehicles work with the truck driver of the oversized freight to make sure it follows the approved route through all parts of the trip. They’re trained professionals who specialize in this type of specialized transport to ensure the safety of both drivers and the public.

Often, these vehicles are specially equipped with eye-catching flags, lights and signs that alert the public to the oversized load ahead. Some also carry first aid kits, maps and emergency equipment. For oversized loads that are very high, the lead pilot car will usually be required to have height poles so they can test for clearance under bridges and other overhead obstacles along the route.

Depending on the size of the oversized freight and its route, the oversized truck may need one or more escort cars. A lead car drives in front of the freight and a chase car drives behind. The lead car’s primary role is to keep the oversized truck on its correct route as dictated by state permits, while also keeping an eye out for any traffic or obstacle along the way.

As a pilot car driver, your earnings will depend on your experience and the location in which you’re working. For example, working for industries that use a lot of dangerous goods or large vehicles can increase your pay rates. Additionally, negotiating your fees with clients can increase your income.

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