Escort and Equipment Requirements

Escort vehicles are required to ensure the safety of the traveling public and the safe movement of the permitted vehicle.

In addition to private escorts, TxDMV may require you to obtain law enforcement escorts for your permitted vehicle.


The escort vehicle operator must warn the traveling public when any of the following conditions exists:

  • A permitted vehicle must travel over the center line of a narrow bridge or roadway.
  • A permitted vehicle makes any turning movement that will require the permitted vehicle to travel in the opposing traffic lanes.
  • A permitted vehicle reduces speed to cross under a low overhead obstruction or over a bridge.
  • A permitted vehicle creates an abnormal and unusual traffic flow pattern.

See the Special Escort Requirements section for manufactured housing and portable building escorts. Escort requirements for most loads and permit types are listed below.

Dimension Measurement Number and Placement of Escort(s)
Width Exceeding 14' to 16' 1 Front – two-lane highway
1 Rear - divided highway
Exceeding 16' 1 Front and 1 Rear – all roads
Height Exceeding 17' 1 Front – equipped with height pole
Exceeding 18' 1 Front and 1 Rear – all roads
1 Front - equipped with height pole

Exceeding 110' to 125' 1 Front – two-lane highway
1 Rear - divided highway
Exceeding 125' 1 Front and 1 Rear – all roads
Front overhang exceeds 20' 1 Front - two-lane highway
1 Rear – four or more lane highway
Rear overhang exceeds 20' 1 Rear – all roads

If a load exceeds escort requirements in two dimensions, front and rear escorts are required. For example, if a load is 16-feet wide and 112-feet long, one escort is required for the width and one escort is required for the length. This rule does not apply if the two dimensions are length and overhang.


Overlength loads may convoy and share escorts under the following conditions:

  • 110 feet to 150 feet long – Convoy up to four loads with one front and one rear escort
  • 150 feet, 1 inch to 180 feet long – Convoy two loads with one front and one rear escort

Each permitted load in the convoy must:

  • Travel at least 1,000 feet, but not more than 2,000 feet, from any other load in the convoy.
  • Have a rotating amber beacon or an amber pulsating light not less than eight inches in diameter mounted at the top, rear of the load.


Escort vehicles are required to be a single unit with a gross vehicle weight of not less than 1,000 pounds and not more than 10,000 pounds. Escort vehicles must be equipped as follows:


An escort vehicle must have two flashing amber lights or one rotating amber beacon of not less than eight inches in diameter fixed to the roof of the escort vehicle. The light must be visible from all sides of the escort vehicle.


An escort vehicle must display a sign on either the roof of the vehicle or the front and/or rear of the vehicle with the words "OVERSIZE" or "WIDE LOAD." The sign must be:

  • Size – 5 to 7 feet in length, 12 to 18 inches in height
  • Color - yellow background with black lettering
  • Size of lettering – 8 to 10 inches high with a brush stroke at least 1.41 inches wide
  • Visibility - visible from the front and rear of the vehicle while escorting the permitted load
  • The sign must not be used at any other time.

Warning flags must be made of red or orange fluorescent material and at least 12-inches square. Flags should be securely mounted on a staff or securely fastened to at least one corner to the widest extremities of the overwidth vehicle and placed at the rear of an overlength vehicle or vehicle with a rear overhang in excess of four feet.


An escort vehicle must maintain two-way communications with the permitted vehicle and other escort vehicles involved with the movement of the permitted vehicle.

Height pole

Any permitted vehicle that exceeds 17-feet in height must have a front escort vehicle equipped with a height pole made of nonconductive metal to accurately measure overhead obstructions.


Manufactured housing and portable buildings have special escort requirements when moved under the provisions of permit types specific to these load types.

The number of required escorts and escort placement are as follows:

  • If the load exceeds 16 feet wide, but does not exceed 18-feet wide, one escort is required. If traveling on a two-lane highway, the escort must be in the front of the load. If traveling on a highway with four or more lanes, the escort must be in the rear.
  • If the load exceeds 18 feet wide, two escorts are required: one in the front and one in the rear.
  • Two manufactured homes or two sections of a multi-section manufactured home may be moved in a convoy and share the required escorts if the distance between the two units does not exceed 1,000 feet.

A manufactured house over 12 feet wide must have one rotating amber beacon not less than eight inches in diameter mounted somewhere on the roof at the rear of the manufactured house. Or, instead of a roof beacon, two five-inch flashing amber lights may be mounted approximately six feet from ground level at the rear corners of the manufactured house.

The towing vehicle is required to have one rotating amber beacon not less than eight inches in diameter mounted on the top of the cab. These beacons are to be operational and luminous during any permitted move over the highway.


An official law enforcement motorcycle may be used as a primary escort vehicle for a permitted vehicle traveling within the limits of an incorporated city if a highway patrol officer, sheriff, duly authorized deputy or municipal police officer operates the motorcycle.

An escort motorcycle must maintain two-way radio communications with the permitted vehicle and other escort vehicles involved with the movement of the permitted vehicle.

Railroad-Crossing Safety

 7 Steps for Safety Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

  1. Approach with care.
    Warn others that you are slowing down. Turn on 4-way flashers. Use pull-out lane if available.

  2. Prepare to stop.
    Turn off fans and radio and roll down windows. Locate your cell phone for use in emergency.

    Stop at least 15 feet, but not more than 50 feet, from nearest rail.

  3. Look and listen both ways, carefully.
    Bend forward to see around mirrors and A-pillars.

  4. If it won't fit, don't commit.
    Do not enter a crossing unless you can drive completely through without stopping!

    And, remember, trains are wider than the track. Before you pull onto the track, make sure there is enough room on the other side for the back of your vehicle (and any overhanging cargo) to be at least 3 feet beyond the furthest rail.

  5. Look again.
    Before you move, look again in both directions.

  6. Cross tracks with care.
    Signal, watch for a safe gap, pull back onto the road if you used a pull-out lane. Use highest gear that will let you cross without shifting.

  7. Keep going once you start, even if lights start to flash or gates come down.


What to do if your vehicle stalls or hangs up on the tracks

    Evacuate your vehicle. (Trains traveling at 60 mph may take a mile or more to stop.)

  2. Move away.
    Walk toward the oncoming train, and away from the tracks at a 45-degree angle. (If your vehicle is hit, debris will spread out from the tracks in the same direction the train is moving.)

  3. Locate the emergency phone number.
    When you are safely away from the tracks, find the railroad's emergency phone number and the DOT crossing identification number posted near the crossing. (See sample locations below.)

    Railroad identification, emergency phone numbers, and DOT number locations.
  4. Call for help!
    Call the railroad's emergency phone number, the local police, or 911. Tell them a vehicle is on the tracks. Provide the location, crossing number (if posted), and the name of the road or highway.



icon important Railroads' Emergency Phone Numbers

Railroad Emergency Phone Number
Amtrack 1-800-331-0008
BNSF Railway 1-800-832-5452
CSX 1-800-232-0144
Canadian National 1-800-465-9239
Canadian Pacific 1-800-716-9132
Kansas City Southern 1-877-527-9464 or 1-800-892-6295
Norfolk Southern 1-800-453-2530
Union Pacific 1-888-877-7267

Call the local police or 911 if you cannot locate the railroad emergency phone number at the site.

For more information on railroad safety, please visit the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website at

FMCSA Railroad Crossing Safety Brochure





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