How to Become a Pilot Car Driver for Oversized Vehicles

Many people are always looking to earn extra income on the side and for good reasons. You can use that extra cash to drastically reduce debt, build an emergency fund, save money for college or vacation, or just throw some extra savings towards your retirement fund.

The good news is, there are so many ways to earn fast cash in the gig economy, especially the transportation sector. Some driving opportunities are the greatest cash-paying under-the-table jobs. One way to make more money this year is to become a pilot car driver.

Here are some reasons why you should consider becoming a pilot car driver:

Trucks and specialized carriers transport the majority of freight in the United States. It has turned oversize freight transit into one of the most profitable types of transportation. Because big trucks transport oversized cargo, they are generally accompanied by small cars to minimize traffic bottlenecks or accidents and to ensure that the load is delivered safely to its destination.

Pilot or escort vehicle operators (P/EVOs) are the drivers in charge of guiding these massive freight haulers. You can quickly join this growing industry if you obtain certification as a pilot car driver.

Because this type of work is rarely discussed, you may not have heard of it. It is one of those careers that few people consider unless they are familiar with it. If you have the determination, a pilot car escort is a good way to supplement your income.

We’ll show you how to become a pilot car driver by going over all of the prerequisites with you.

What is a Pilot Car Driver?

Someone who drives an escort car is known as a pilot car driver. You’ve probably seen cars driving in front of or behind wide-body trucks transporting huge goods like mobile homes and airplane wings. Pilot or escort cars are the common names for these vehicles.

The majority of pilot vehicle escorts work in the freight or transportation industries. Their duties vary depending on the industry, but in general, they are responsible for escorting huge vehicles or specialized carriers hauling large goods. The following are examples of common tasks:

  • Pilot car drivers drive ahead of these trucks to warn oncoming traffic that a large load or vehicle convoy is approaching and that they should stay off the road.
  • A pilot car driver assesses the road ahead and interacts with the truck driver via radio to inform them of any hazards or barriers that could obstruct delivery.

Pilot cars are equipped with flashing signs, flashlights, and flags due to the risk of hauling large cargoes. According to state rules, every pilot car driver must have such equipment in or on their vehicle at all times. The purpose is to call everyone’s attention to the large load on the road.

In car piloting, safety is paramount because even a minor error can result in serious consequences. In most circumstances, another pilot car driver will be following behind the big load to attract the attention of drivers arriving from behind.

You are seeking a wonderful task if you want to become a pilot vehicle driver. Aside from the pay, you’ll be responsible for guaranteeing the safety of any other drivers who share the road with the truck driver.

Simple chores such as ensuring that maneuvers are done securely and overseeing lane changes or bridge crossings to ensure that the load is transported safely to its destination may be quite rewarding.

How Much Does a Pilot Car Driver Make?

When it comes to how much a pilot car driver makes, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Pay varies from state to state and firm to company, as one might anticipate. Per-mile pay varies based on transportation distance, freight type, and the company’s willingness to pay.

Pilot car drivers are usually paid by mile. For the first 100-150 miles, the pay is usually $200. Then, for every additional mile driven, you’ll be paid anywhere from $1.30 to $1.50; a pilot car driver’s annual compensation is around $34,000 per year.

What about the per hourly rate? , you can expect to earn $16.34 per hour working as a pilot car driver.

But according to , salaries for wide load pilot car escorts vary widely from state to state. The difference can be up to $20,000 per year! They estimate a pilot car driver to earn an average of $56,000 per year, with per mile pay ranging from 41-52 cents.

The top 10% of full-time pilot vehicle escorts earn around $100,000 per year, while the worst 10% earn as little as $30,000.

All said, there is no salary cap for car pilot drivers, especially those who are paid per mile. As long as there’s work, you can do as much as you want and earn as much as you can. You’ll generate money while driving.

Yet, there is one thing to keep in mind in your quest to become a pilot vehicle escort: the wage equation can become rather difficult.

Generally, you’ll be using your personal car for the job. That means you will shoulder the burden of repairs like flywheel resurfacing or rotor turning, maintenance like an oil change, and fuel because you will be paying for these expenses out of pocket. These costs can add up, especially when faced with unforeseen car-related expenses that may call for extensive repairs.

It’s best to Sams Club is a great place to get cheap gas. or a Kroger gas station is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week..

What are the responsibilities of automobile pilot escorts?

Because you are self-employed, you are entitled to a tax deduction for these expenses as well as the mileage driven. Consider negotiating with your employer to split some of these costs or factoring your overhead costs into your income.

Pilot Car Requirements by State

Pilot car drivers are subject to a variety of rules and regulations that vary by state. When a pilot or escort vehicle is required, as well as the qualifications for becoming a pilot car driver, are all covered. We’ll go through all of the pilot car criteria by state in this section.

What are the Qualifications to Become a Pilot Car Driver?

The requirements for a pilot car position are straightforward. State requirements may differ, however some restrictions apply to all states.

The following are the requirements for becoming a pilot car driver:

  • In some states, you must be 18 years old, and in others, you must be 21 years old.
  • Proper driver’s license is required.
  • You must have completed a defensive driving course or have a commercial driver’s license in class A, B, or C.
  • Carry liability insurance for your automobile.
  • Proficiency in English and professional communication

Pilot car drivers are not required to be qualified in most states. Presently, 12 states require escort vehicle operators to take a one-day certification training and pass a written test at the end of the session to get certification.

What States Require Pilot Car Escorts to be Certified?

The following states need pilot car escorts to be licensed:

  •  Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Oklahoma
  • New York
  • Georgia
  • New Mexico
  • Louisiana
  • Virginia
  • Nevada
  • Minnesota
  • Washington
  • Florida

After you’ve completed the basic standards, you should contact your state’s transportation agency to learn more about the specific rules and regulations that govern pilot car services.

When are Pilot Cars Needed?

As an escort vehicle driver, you must be aware of when your services are required and when additional assistance is required. When escorting a wide-body truck, for example, you’ll need two vehicles.

The amount of escort cars required varies by state, but here’s what you need to know in general:

  • When a vehicle is 12 feet wide, it is required to have one pilot car escort it. When a vehicle is longer than 95 feet, many states require a pilot car.
  • If the load is over 14 feet wide or larger, the vehicle must be escorted by two pilot cars, one in front and one behind it. If the load is over 14 1/2 feet high, a pilot car is also required.

Pilot Car Certification Classes Near Me

Anyone interested in working as a pilot car driver must complete training and certification in about 12 states. The purpose is to guarantee that you have the skills and information necessary to follow state regulations, respond effectively to emergencies, and safely steer huge vehicles down the road.

Where can you learn to drive a pilot car in your area?

All states that have pilot car certification requirements offer a one-day approved training course. In general, there are very few places around you that offer pilot car instruction.

You must pass a written pilot test after completing the training to show that you can carry and utilize the right safety equipment, serve as a flagger, and direct traffic as necessary. Your initial destination should be the Department of Transportation in your state.

If you live in Washington or Colorado, your best bet is to consider taking an online pilot car certification course. allows you to take pilot car courses and obtain certification in those two states. It is an 8-hour course offered both online and in-class.

What are the Pilot Car Insurance Requirements?

It’s critical to have the right insurance before you put your pilot car to work. Pilot car insurance is required and can save you a lot of aggravation in the event of a collision resulting in physical injury or property damage.

The insurance requirements for pilot vehicles vary by state, but in general, all 48 states require at least commercial auto coverage. Other types of insurance, such as professional liability and general liability, are also suggested.

Professional liability will cover all of your added responsibilities as an escort car driver, however some employers may require general liability coverage. You must decide how much coverage you require and how much you can spend.

What are the Best Vehicles for a Pilot Car?

In most states, there are no requirements for the size and type of cars used as a pilot car. However, some cars are more suited to serving as a pilot car, and some jurisdictions may mandate you to do so.

A pilot car should have a clear 360-degree field of vision from the driver’s seat. Also, vehicles weighing at least 2,000 pounds or at least quarter-ton pickup trucks make the best vehicles for a pilot car.

The escort vehicle doesn’t have to be new but should be in good condition. In your search for the best car, avoid panel trucks and vans because they lack a 360-degree field of vision. Select the best vehicle you can afford and that has tire pressure is correct, fuel-efficient, wheels are aligned, clears a Before you buy, check the VIN., and is maintained. Your vehicle will become an income producing asset for your job.

See our guide on assistance in purchasing a car from a dealer.

What are the Pilot Car Equipment Requirements?

All states require pilot cars to include safety equipment, and the driver must understand how to utilize it. The size of the equipment varies from state to state. Before crossing state boundaries, it is the driver’s responsibility to understand what is required in each state. If you’re caught without the proper gear, you’ll get a ticket and a fine.

Here’s what you’ll need for your pilot car:

  • Wide Load Warning Sign: The sign should be mounted on the front and back of every escort vehicle, as well as on the top. Signs or placards stating the company or pilot’s name, phone number, and location may also be needed to be displayed on the vehicles.
  • Caution flags: Many states require pilot cars to be equipped with warning flags. Some states only require two flags, while others demand four. Depending on the state, the flags may be 12 or 18 inches in length.
  • A rotating/flashing amber light should be positioned on top of the pilot car and visible from a distance of 500 feet.
  • A height or measurement pole is necessary if the load exceeds 14 feet in height, and it must be put on the pilot car.

The following is a complete list of the pilot car’s equipment:

  • Mileage record book
  • Oversize load signs
  • 2 Two-way radios
  • 4 vehicle flags and 4 traffic control emergency flags
  • 8 reflective triangles
  • Warning lights
  • Reflective safety jackets
  • 2 Flashing lights
  • STOP/SLOW paddle
  • Tire changing tools for used tires
  • Hardhats
  • 12 road flares for safety
  • Safety vests
  • First aid kit
  • Extinguisher(s) that have been approved)
  • Measuring pole
  • Full-size spare tire
  • Tire air pump or CO2 refill
  • Bulb replacements for all lights
  • Spare parts/fluids
  • Vehicle mirrors

See our guide on Apple Pay-accepting fueling stations

Safety Considerations When Becoming a Pilot Car Driver

Various certification requirements apply to escort vehicle drivers and pilot car operators in order to ensure workplace safety.

A pilot vehicle must be aware of all safety standards when piloting an large truck, trucks with over-dimensional loads, or an oversized vehicle. An escort vehicle certification and a certificate of insurance are also required of the driver. This unique certification assures that escort vehicle drivers have a valid driver’s license as well as any other certification criteria imposed by the industry or state.

Drivers of escort vehicles must be equipped with the necessary safety equipment in order to avoid accidents and deal with any challenging situations that may develop. Wearing a reflective safety jacket, carrying reflective safety tape, road cones, jumper cables, a slow safety paddle sign, amber warning light, wooden dowels, two-way radio, mobile phone, journal book, professional mileage book, and additional batteries are all examples of what you might need.

Pilot car driving also entails ensuring that trucks have the proper trucking permits, that overweight permit maximums are adhered to, and that they are aware of the route’s maximum height. They should also consider the vehicles’ real height as well as any applicable legal restrictions. This includes verifying the truck driver’s driver’s license and privileges, as well as the industry card and any valid permits.

When you consider the risks and perils of driving on icy roads and two-lane highways, it’s easy to see why safety precautions like ensuring escort vehicle driver certification and training standards are met, as well as double-checking that safety protocols are followed, are so important.

Confirming the load movement consignment (checking the load size, width, and height, as well as identifying axle constraints), as well as confirming the route and checking if the load is top-heavy or not, are some of the basic best practices for safety car drivers. It’s critical that you know how to reach the truck driver, so collect their name, mobile phone number, and decide on communication methods. It’s also crucial to double-check permissions, route surveys, and the number of escort cars required.

Preparing contingency plans in the event of a breakdown or an emergency is another best practice. The pilot car driver must also complete a safety analysis to prepare for all possibilities so that he or she can react appropriately. This includes evaluating load-specific hazards such as fires, explosions, hazardous material spills and contamination, fragile loads, and perishable goods sensitivities.

The escort vehicle driver can then ensure that the relevant emergency equipment is on hand and discuss emergency protocols with the team based on the safety analysis.

The safety car pilot will also need to verify and mount the oversized load signs and flags, as well as set the height pole if necessary, when preparing the load to be transported. It is critical that the height pole be checked on a daily basis.

Throughout transport, the pilot car driver must keep an eye on the load lights and ensure that the tie-down straps and chains are secure. They should also look for any issues with the brakes. The driver must compare speedometer readings, confirm that other cars are following the rules, and guarantee that safe maneuvering procedures are being used. It is also the driver’s obligation to recognize and communicate any emergency situations to the rest of the team so that they can be handled effectively.

If you are in search of a job, you can find more positions on .

How to Start a Pilot Car Business?

If you follow the right steps, starting a pilot vehicle business shouldn’t be difficult.

The following is a step-by-step method to starting a pilot vehicle business:

  • Basic qualifications: To become an escort car operator, you must first meet the fundamental requirements, which include having a regular driver’s license or a class A, B, or C business license. Another consideration is the age limit.
  • Contemplate training and certification: Next, contact your state’s Department of Transportation to discover if there are any additional requirements, such as training and certification. Even if no such regulations exist, you should pursue training to learn the most up-to-date industry standards and best practices set at the state and federal levels. Because you know what is expected of you, such knowledge will give you the confidence to complete your work.
  • Select the greatest vehicle for the pilot car work: The third stage is to select the best vehicle for the pilot car job. The greatest vehicles are those that weigh at least 2,000 pounds and have a 360-degree field of vision from the driver’s seat.
  • Before you may use your car as a pilot car, it must be equipped with the necessary safety equipment. For example, a rotating/flashing amber light, warning signs, and safety flags. Likewise, make sure you have all of the other equipment stated in this page that your state requires.
  • Insurance: All states require pilot cars to have at least commercial auto coverage. It’s also a good idea to have enough liability insurance. This need varies by state and employer, but if you are involved in an accident, you must have liability insurance.
  • Work permit: As a self-employed professional, you’ll need a work permit to operate your business. In your state, the permit will legally allow you to work as a pilot vehicle driver.
  • Locate Clients: Once you’ve completed all of the prerequisites, you’ll need to start looking for clients. To establish a name, begin networking with local trucking companies. Speak with anyone who has previously worked as a pilot and can provide you with guidance and connections.

That’s all there is to it! These are the measures to take if you want to start a pilot vehicle business.

See our guide on how to improve your salesmanship.

How to Become a Pilot Car Driver Summary

You won’t run across many people talking about the car pilot escort job. It’s a good side hustle and an ideal For introverts, a job where you work alone is ideal..

Begin by contacting your state department to learn about the rules and regulations that govern escort vehicle operators.

You may be required to get training and certification in some states. Even if your state does not have the standards, you should still take a course to increase your confidence and expertise.

Then, find the best vehicle for a pilot car, install the necessary equipment, locate clients, and begin earning money right away.

See our guide on the For drive-in movies, the best FM radio is.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top