You must have seen cars carrying an object hanging from either the sides or rear and the danger it poses to the other vehicles driving along.
When the load has a small focal point (due to a large extension out of the car), the vehicles running behind find it difficult to notice it and bang into the car if it stops suddenly.
To avoid this, some states in the United States have stricter rules to check the distance an object can extend or overhang from a vehicle, while a handful of states don’t vouch for the same.
In any case, you must know how far an object can extend or overhang from your car such that it doesn’t pose any threat to the nearby vehicles.
How far can an object extend from your car?
In the United States, laws allow trucks to extend around 3ft. in the front and 4ft. in the rear.
However, such laws are highly flexible, and you can contact your state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to verify the accepted overhanging length.
Additionally, it would help if you tied a red, yellow, or orange fluorescent flag to the load/good to indicate it to the others as a responsible individual.
How far can an object extend from your car: By state
Not all states in the United States have strict laws to govern the length of the extended goods from a car, and those who have are highly flexible.
Below is a complete rundown of all the states with such laws. You can notice the flexibility in terms of overhang length in them.
Alabama’s transportation department allows an extension of 5 feet from the front and 4 feet from the rear of any truck or other vehicle designed to carry overhanging loads of goods.
If the object exceeds the above dimensions, it’s mandatory to use a red fluorescent flag in the daylight and a red light at night from the safety point of view.
Besides the pre-defined lengths of overhanging, i.e., 3 feet from the front & 4 feet at the rear, Alaska has also set the width of the load to be under 12 feet. Additionally, loads hanging over 10-17 feet high must carry an “oversize load” size for other vehicles on the road.
Here a load can extend to a maximum of 3 feet in front and up to 6 feet at the rear. Here, the laws aren’t flexible, and anything going beyond these distances violates the laws.
A load can extend up to 3 feet in front and 4 feet at rear and from the sides in California. Plus, you must use fluorescent indicators if the load extends by 1 foot from the left or 4 feet at the rear.
DOT also allows an overhanging distance of 10 feet in some cases if the vehicle’s length doesn’t increase beyond 75 feet, including the load.
Here in Colorado, a maximum of 4 feet extension in the front and 10 feet extension at the rear is allowed, and anything exceeding these lengths comes under the Class B offense.
In Connecticut, a load can extend to a maximum of 3 feet in front, up to 4 feet at rear, and 6 inches from sides. If you use proper markings, you may even exceed these restrictions.
Vehicles can load objects that protrude up to 3 feet from the front and 6 feet from the rear. If the object is a single piece, DOT allows an extension of 10 feet at the rear.
Florida DOT allows trucks carrying automobiles and boats an extension of 3 feet in the front and 9feet in the rear. If the truck has to carry trees, the extension length extends to 10 feet in the rear with markings.
Here, an object can protrude to a maximum length of 4 feet in the front and 10 feet at the rear end. However, if you cannot dismember the object into parts, the above rule does not apply in that case; however, it becomes mandatory to use markings on the load.
In Idaho, any object can overhang up to 4 feet in front, 6 feet from both sides, and 10 feet at the back.
Kansas DOT allows 3 feet and 4 feet as safe overhanging limits for the cargo trucks from the front and rear, respectively.
However, the above rules don’t apply for loads that you can’t dismember as long as the overall vehicle length doesn’t go beyond 85 feet.
You can only have a load extension of 3 feet in the front and 5 feet in the rear with proper markings on the load during the night hours in Kentucky.
Cargo-carrying trucks can have a maximum overhanging distance of 4 feet from the front and 8 feet from the rear end.
In Maine, no truck or vehicle can load objects or goods exceeding the set overhanging of 3 feet in the front and 6 feet in the rear.
Here, the cargo-carrying trucks or vehicles can have a maximum overhanging distance of 3 feet and 6 feet from the front and rear end, respectively.
Though there are no such restrictions on the overhanging extension for trucks, anything that exceeds 4 feet must mandatorily be flagged.
For the trucks plying in Minnesota, the DOT has set overhanging limits to 3 feet in the front, 4 feet in the rear end, and 6 feet on the left & right side.
Of all the states, the overhanging distances for cargo trucks are a bit huge at 3 feet & 15 feet from the front & rear, respectively.
Although there are no such overhanging restrictions in Nebraska, it’s mandatory to ensure that your vehicle’s overall length doesn’t exceed the DOT’s limit.
For the cargo trucks plying in Nevada, there’s a set overhanging limit of 10 feet from the front & rear of the vehicle with proper markings during the night hours.
In North Mexico, the vehicle can load only those goods with a maximum extension of 3 feet from the front & 7 feet from the rear.
In North Dakota, a fixed overhanging limit of 10 feet is legal for the vehicles used for loading goods.
The Oregon DOT has set a limit of 4 feet and 5 feet overhanging extension from the front & rear, respectively.
In Pennsylvania, you can’t load an object on a vehicle that exceeds 4 feet from the front and 5 feet from the rear.
Rhode Island has legalized overhanging of objects by 3 feet from the front & 6 feet at the rear end.
South Carolina’s regular overhanging rules state an extension of a maximum of 3 feet from the front and 6 feet from the rear as legal for the cargo vehicles.
Additionally, the trailers measuring 48 feet or less can overhang 15 feet, and the same reduces to 10 feet for the trailers measuring 53 feet or more.
Like other states, you can overhang any load beyond 3 feet from the front & 6 feet from the rear end. If the overhang doesn’t exceed the vehicle’s total length by 1/3rd, the above rules become invalid.
You can’t load an overhang of an object beyond 3 feet from the center and 15 feet from the rear when measured from the center of the last axle.
In WV, the transportation department has set legal overhang limits that translate to 3 feet from the front & 6 feet from the rear end.
Wyoming DOT allows an overhang extension of 4 feet from both the front and rear of the vehicle.
Note that there is a legal overhang limit of 3 feet from the front & 4 feet from the rear for the other states of the United States. These states include:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
If the state’s transportation department allows, you may get the permit to exceed the preset overhang conditions provided you follow the required guidelines like markings, valid permits, etc.
For a cargo-carrying truck and other vehicles, every state in the US has certain guidelines for the overhang to prevent road mishaps, accounting for 5-8% of road accidents.
However, you may get permission to exceed some restrictions based on certain factors, as mentioned above. It is to ensure the overhang object or load doesn’t harm the other vehicles around the road.