With the increase of oil and gas activity in the area, we feel it necessary to mention a unique and sometimes overlooked aspect of the oil and gas industry: escort drivers.
Escorts are not only concerned with the safety of the oversized loads they lead, but equally concerned with the safety and well-being of the community in which they operate.
Along with showing the way, escorts drive ahead, behind and in some cases alongside heavy cargo, using CB radios on selected channels to listen and make predetermined callouts in case other escorts and oversized vehicles are going to cross their path. The drivers can then determine a place to "stage" their vehicles while the others safely passes. How many accidents are avoided because of this system? Thanks to escorts we'll never know.
Hotheads may get upset when they find themselves stuck behind these vehicles with flashing lights and are forced to drive slow. People feel the need for speed, which is why escort drivers are so important. Part of their job is to move slowly ahead and make sure the drivers they lead maintain a reasonable speed. Though tailing these slow-moving vehicles may be upsetting, just remember how fortunate you feel when you spot those flashing lights in time to slow down.
If escorts see oncoming traffic, they give the trucker(s) behind a shout-out on the CB. So if you're barreling by and thinking these often combustible trucks have yielded to your "superior driving skills," consider that the escort has probably advised that big dog to stand down.
Not only do escorts help the oil and gas companies avoid lawsuits and negative publicity, they also follow safety precautions and make sound judgments when situations arise.
If you live in an area where oil and gas pads are frequented by tankers and oversized loads, you may be familiar with escorts. They are especially important on roads with more twists and turns than guardrails.
Because regulations are always changing, especially when it comes to weights and measurements qualifying a vehicle as "oversized," it is up to the community to keep watch and keep the issue of safety alive and loud.