How Far Can Lumber Stick Out of a Truck?

Safely and efficiently transporting lumber can be a daunting task. However, it can be achieved if the right procedure is followed and with the right knowledge. For instance, how far can lumber hang out of the truck?

According to DOT, lumber is only allowed to extend 3 feet in front of the vehicle. 4 feet in the rear, and 4 inches on the side. Beyond that, you have required to red-flag the lumber as a warning sign to other drivers. In the event of damage to another car caused by lumber falling off, you are held liable. 

This article outlines these regulations and more on how to transport such loads on a truck. 

How Far Can Lumber Stick Out in a Truck?

how far can lumber stick out of a truck

Often, people have specific lengths of lumber in mind for transportation. Transportation is the same for all lumber, regardless of its type and length. However, it would be best to know how far out the lumber is sticking out of your truck for the safety of everyone on the road. 

The amount of overhang allowable usually varies by state, so it would be best to check with your state the allowed distances. According to DOT regulations, the lumber should hang out three feet in front of the vehicle, four inches to the side, and four feet behind. If they go beyond this, you are required to properly mark them to warn drivers on the road. 

For good measure, ensure that you properly mark the load if it extends more than a foot to the side, front, or rear. Also, remember that if your lumber happens to shift during transportation, you are likely to be fined. In the unfortunate event of an accident, you will be held responsible even if you met all regulations. 

The best thing to do is to flag your lumber and haul them in such a way that they do not extend side-wise in any direction. Most of the flags are usually made of weather-resistant and durable material and are brightly colored so no one can miss it. If your load exceeds any legal limits, it should be marked with red marker lamps. 

Moreover, a backup camera can be helpful in such instances. They help you monitor the clearance of oversized loads so you can avoid a collision. 

Why Is Safe Hauling So Important?

While transporting long lumber to the desired destination is not as hard, trying to carry out the process safely without hurting anyone or damaging the goods might be difficult. Hence, it is important that you follow all the necessary safety precautions keeping in mind that you will be held liable for any damage in case of an accident. 

As part of safe hauling, simple fastening and netting go a long way. The goal you are working towards is to transport the lumber safely and efficiently. For instance, for 16ft lumber, for your pickup to accommodate this load, you need to add extra length to it. Unfortunately, some drivers take on the hauling task without prior experience and end up messing up. 

It is important to remember that driving skills do not suffice—you need to be proficient enough to handle such a situation. This kind of proficiency only comes with experience.

A common risk when it comes to transporting lumber is an improper settlement. You might reach your destination without some of the lumber, hence you always need to carry out a steady fix. 

Things to Know Before Hauling Lumber

With the right knowledge, hauling items of longer lengths can become an easy task. Hauling lumber requires some technique, and therefore, there are things that you need to keep in mind while at it. 

The first thing is that you should be aware of the amount of lumber hanging outside your vehicle. Ensure that you comply with the DOT regulations. 

However, if due to unavoidable circumstances you exceed the limit, you have to red-flag the load. The flag should be clamped to the lumber’s end. 

It is advisable to check with the local police station so you are conversant with some of the rules of the area pertaining to the transportation of large loads. This way, you can avoid some fines. 

How Far Can a Kayak Hang Out of a Car?

When transporting a kayak to its destination of use on your vehicle, it is likely to hang out depending on its length and size of your vehicle. This overhang poses a safety hazard on the road.

It is important that you accommodate the geometry of the kayak with your driving habits by allowing extra distance. According to DOT, cargo can only overhang by 3 feet in the front, 4 inches on the side, and 4 feet in the rear. If it goes beyond this, it should be marked properly. 

Can You Put a Ladder in the Back of a Truck?

Yes, it is possible to put a ladder in the back of your truck. The ladder should be strapped down with high-quality ratchet straps. You can use a rack to ensure the ladder lays flat on two surfaces above the vehicle. This keeps it safe for traffic as well as protects your truck bed. 


The lumber should be placed down on the tailgate approximately a foot from the rear anchor points. The second ratchet strap is placed on the floor bed approximately a foot from the front anchor points. The lumber is then stacked in the middle of the bed and above the cargo straps.

Typically, kayaks cannot fit the back of a truck without extra accessories. You will need crossbars or a bed topper. The crossbars are mounted over the truck bed allowing you to mount the kayak rack so you can transport the kayak.

Light loads are allowed on the tailgate, but still, need to be secured. Heavier loads are not recommended to rest on the tailgate since it was not designed for heavy weights. 

Final Thoughts

Transporting lumber is a tricky task. Lumber of longer lengths tends to stick out of the truck and can pose a security threat if not handled properly. Ensure that you familiarize yourself with the state rules so you know how much overhang is allowed. 

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