Now don't misunderstand me...I'm not saying you WILL have these accidents and injuries. There are a large number of drivers who haven't...but there are plenty who have. It's just a big part of flatbedding you have to be aware of.
Oversize and overweight loads are another concern. For whatever reason (I'd guess because they seem to get away with it) companies often don't pay anything extra for hauling an oversize load. But there is a lot to be aware of when it comes to hauling these loads. Every state has different rules regarding them, but there are some generalities that can be made.
Oversize loads often can not be moved at night or in poor weather. This is by law in many states. Depending on the size of the load and the state you are in you may or may not need an escort vehicle, or several of them. The really large or heavy loads often need police escort. You will also need special permits at times in each state you drive through. Your company will handle getting these permits for you but they will have to be faxed to you at a truck stop or at the shipper.
You can be almost certain that every weigh station you come to will carefully check your weight and ask you to come inside to show them your permits. One small problem and you will be shut down on the spot until your company gets whatever it is you require. Also, finding a parking spot in the evening at a truck stop is difficult enough when you CAN fit into a parking spot.
Needing two spots or parking along the edge of the lot because you are over length can really be tough. The handling of oversize loads will vary from company to company and should be a priority when you inquire into employment.
The DOT is another concern for flatbedders. The DOT LOVES FLATBEDS! There are numerous regulations with regard to strapping down your load based on the weight, size, and breakup of the load. Some loads will be on pallets, maybe 20 or so, and some may be just one piece of machinery.
Depending on a number of factors you will be required to strap or chain down the load every so many feet and with a certain amount of holding strength.
The DOT loves flatbeds because there are so many opportunities for them to find a problem. Your straps may be worn, loose, or not of the proper rating. Your tarp may be loose or have loose cords hanging. You may not have enough straps or chains for your load and so on. They can see your load at a glance and often tell right away if they can get you on something. As a flatbedder you will get a lot of scrutiny.
So as you can see, there are a number of issues specific to hauling loads on a flatbed trailer. Because of this, flatbedders tend to be paid quite well. Often times a flatbed driver can make anywhere from $5,000-$15,000 per year more than someone hauling a dry van or refrigerated trailer.
Also, flatbedders are like a little fraternity within the industry and many drivers really like the unique challenges and better pay that come with it.
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