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How to Start a Pilot Car Business

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A pilot car driver works as team with the driver of an oversize truckload to make sure the truck gets safely to its destination. The pilot driver travels in front of the truck in a separate vehicle, warning the public if there are traffic changes due to the truckload. They also warn the truck if there is anything up ahead that can interfere with its safe passage. If you decide to be a pilot car driver, you’ll most likely need to go into business for yourself.

Find a pilot driver already in business, and ask if he’ll be your mentor, since there is no formal training to be a pilot driver. Look for pilot drivers at truck stops and roadside rest areas. Ride along with your mentor on a few runs, and see if you’re suited to this business.

Gather the financial resources to set up your car as a pilot car. Be prepared to work for 30 to 45 days until you receive payment from your first job. Your largest out-of-pocket expenses will include the flashing lights you'll need on top of your car, a mega phone hooked up to your car, and a CB radio.

Seek coverage from an insurance company that will insure your car for business use as a pilot car. Purchase a Business Liability Policy that will cover instances where the truck driver has an accident as a result of the instructions you gave him.

Upgrade and equip your vehicle for pilot car driving. Make sure your car is comfortable, as you’ll be spending 10 to 15 hours a day driving. You’ll need to get “Oversize Load” signs for the roof of your car. Buy two flashing amber lights and one revolving amber light, as well as two red flags, eight safety flares, and a reflective stop sign. Make sure you have a reflective safety vest and a hard hat as well.

Set up a bookkeeping system or hire a bookkeeper. Start immediately recording every mile you drive and every penny you spend.

Go back to your mentor and ask for recommendations of trucking companies with whom you can start working.


To be a pilot driver, you need to have an excellent driving record and a love of driving. You also need a lot of stamina, as pilot car drivers are on the road for many hours at a stretch, for many days in a row.