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In the spring, axle weights for CDL vehicles are reduced on many roads.

Reduced CDL Axle Weights, Spring Thaw and Frost Laws


Updated Jan 2021


A story about a Quix X driver in the early 1990s, driving north of Ottawa.

He stopped to have a pee on the side of the road on highway 17.

Standing there relieving himself on the side of the road he looked at his truck, & his truck slowly rolled over into the ditch.

Next thing you know he was peeing on the undercarriage of it truck.

What had happened, he'd pulled over on the side of the road in the spring when the frost was coming out of the ground.

The ground is unstable and will not hold the weight of a large vehicle.

On many North American roads in the spring, axle weights for CDL vehicles are significantly reduced to prevent damage to the roads.

It is important to take heed of these signs in the springtime and to know that you need to run at reduced axle weights, because if you get pulled over by authorities, pulled into a scale and you're running full weights on these side roads that have these signs in place, your going to get a fine, you're going to end up working the day for free.

We'll be right back to talk to you about that.

70% Load Restrictions

Springtime is arriving here in the Okanagan Valley and other parts of Canada and the United States of America.

What happens in the springtime - the frost comes out of the ground, the ground becomes unstable.

Because the ground is unstable road beds are unstable because of the frost coming out of the ground and thawing.

These signs - these seventy percent signs are now beginning to appear on side roads.

70% axle weights for big trucks.


If you're running tandem-tandem in Canada you're allowed 39,500 kilograms, but in the thaw you're allowed 27,650 kilograms - seventy percent overall gross vehicle weight.

5,500 kilograms on the steer axles which are allowed on a tandem-tandem or a straight truck with reduced weights is 3,850 kilograms, 17,000 on a tandem axle.

That reduces to 11,900 kilograms in Canada is what you're allowed on a side road that has these signs on.

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If you don't reduce the weight on the axles, you're going to get pulled over by authorities you're going to get a fine.

As I led off in the beginning the other thing is if you end up on the dirt, you may not get it out because you're either going to get stuck or you are going to experience a rollover because the shoulder, the dirt shoulder will not support the weight of that vehicle.

United States

If you're running in the United States, normal axle weights are 34,000 on a tandem axle, 12,000 on a steer axle or single axle, 80,000 overall gross vehicle weight.

With 70% reduction that's reduced to 8,400 lbs on a steer 23,800 lbs on a tandem axle, for an overall gross vehicle weight of 56,000 lbs.

That's what it is in the United States of America.

Soft Shoulders & Rollovers

The other thing with big vehicles that you need to keep in mind is when you're turning and you're going wide to compensate for the off-tracking to get the bigger vehicle around the ditch, whether it's a truck, a bus, or a RV unit - keep it on the pavement.

In the spring, weigh your CDL vehicle to ensure that you're in compliance with Frost Laws.

Do not let it drop off in the shoulder, because the problem with the shoulders is not only do you have the downward weight of the vehicle, but also the forward movement of the vehicle trying to go straight and the steering tires compensating for that and trying to move it around the corner.

So you've got two or three forces at work on the shoulder of the road.

With the frost coming out of the road, it's already soft you're putting all that force on it the bank is going to give away and you're going to drop into the ditch and be stuck.

In the United States, CDL tandem-tandem vehicles are allowed a gross vehicle weight of 56,000lbs when spring thaw is in effect.

Hopefully that's the least of it.

If the ditches deep you may experience a rollover so keep it on the pavement in the spring when you see these signs around because the ground is too particularly unstable.


In conclusion, 70% axle weight in Canada 3,850 kilograms on a steer axle; 11,900 kilograms on a tandem axle for an overall gross vehicle weight of twenty seven thousand six hundred and fifty kilograms in Canada.

In the United States, it's eight thousand four hundred pounds on a steer axle, 23,800 pounds on a tandem axle for an overall gross vehicle weight of fifty-six thousand pounds in the United States when you see these seventy percent reduction on your axle weight.

Know these signs are there in the spring pay heed because you don't want to get a fine by authorities, you don't want to end up working the day for free.

I'm Rick with Smart Drive Test.

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Have a great day.

Bye now.



[The guy in the white truck behind me is giving me the stink eye]!

In the United States when you see these seventy percent reduction on your axle weights.

So know these signs are there in the spring


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