How Far Can a Ladder Stick Out the Back of a Truck?

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While carrying lumber, ladder, pipe, pole, etc., you need to be extra careful. If the ladder overhangs the truck bed too much, your car might be pulled over by a cop.

Moreover, it would be best to be extra cautious when tying the ladder properly to your truck. If you are anxious about the overhanging length of the ladder, don’t worry.

I have researched thoroughly about how far a ladder can stick out the back of a truck. It varies from state to state, though. From a minimum of 3 ft. to a maximum of 15 ft. sticking out length, it covers many other things you should know. At the end of the discussion, I will introduce some most common FAQs.

So, let’s roll in.

Distance Measurement for Sticking Out

Hauling a long ladder or pipe without knowing the law will make only things worse. I will tell you about the maximum distance a ladder or lumber can extend beyond the bed of a truck or a car. The USDOT deals with it. It has several federal rules and regulations regarding this.


According to the USDOT, when you get something that extends over 3 feet in front and/or 4 feet distance from the rear of the truck, you must take precautionary steps. It includes having a marked red or orange color safety flag (18-inch square) during the daytime.

Also, please take note that the side projection of the load cannot be more than 4-inch in case you want to place it within the limit.

Actions to Take

During nights, use a red-colored lamp that is put on the far rear point of the load. It will help other vehicles to indicate the protruding length of your goods and drive accordingly.

If you are on duty with a mariner, you have to carry a boat sometimes. The regulation stays the same with the aforementioned overhanging distance limit.

Also read: Use an Extension Ladder to Get on a Roof?

State to State Variations

This limit of distance will vary from state to state. Make sure you start your trip after knowing the laws of that particular state.

Also, the punishment scenario for breaking the law varies from state to state. Using the red flag during the daytime and the red lamp during the night hours will save you big time.

Common Issues That Arise While Loading the Truck

If the ladder protrudes out of the truck body, there are some initial things that you must do before starting your journey.

Without taking these precautionary measurements, your lumber or ladder may fall from the vehicle. Steps that should be taken are as follows –

Items on the Truck Seems Not to Be Tied Properly

I don’t recommend using bungee cords in this case. Because this rope cannot support enough if the load is too heavy, it stretches too much. You better use ratchet straps to hold your products tight. It will take the poles, pipes, ladder, etc., safely to their destination.

Exceeding the Payload Limits of Truck

You tend to start your journey on a fine morning, and you don’t know your truck’s weight restrictions. The chances are high that suspension and shocks will be badly damaged after having multiple trips.

Make sure you load the truck within its limit. You will get the weight limit from the manual of the vehicle.

Carrying Issue with Heavier and Larger Items

Oversized items like logs should be tied beside the bed rails, not in the center. Make sure it’s fastened with the truck bed too. That will prohibit it from sliding right-left. On the other hand, heavier items should be kept near the cab. It will help front excel produce enough traction while hauling.

Also read: Carry Extension Ladder on Truck?

Choosing the Lesser-Known Route

Before starting the journey, choose the best route that you know very well. You know the location of every patch, pothole, unexpected barrier of that road. This is how your journey would be more comfortable.


What are the basic accessories for carrying lumber, ladder, pipe, etc., on my truck bed?

If you have to carry a large amount of lumber, ladder, pipe, etc. on a regular interval, you should consider the following accessories –
Bed Extenders
Forget about buying another truck to carry an extra load. Use a bed extender instead.
Bed Slides
Without climbing on the truck, you can take your cargo out by sliding.
Bed Racks
Transportation of long cargo has been easier with the use of Bed Racks.
Cargo Nets and Covers
It will save your cargo from flying away and also work as a weather-proof material.

How far can something hang off the back of a truck in New York and Ohio?

New York and Ohio follow the pre-destined law of federal sticking out limit. That draws the line of 3 feet in the front part and 4 feet in the rear part. During the trip, you must also maintain the distance in the side of the load of a minimum 4-inch. If you cross the limit and don’t use the red flag, you will be fined.

How far can something hang out of a truck in Florida?

When it comes to Florida, things are a bit different. This state will give you a free pass in the following scenario. Your truck carries boats or automobiles that extend 9 feet beyond the rear side and protrude 3 feet in the front. That’s the limit for Florida.

How far can something hang off the back of a truck in California?

The limit distance for California is just like New York. That means it allows your cargo to stick out 4 feet at the rear side, 3 feet at the front, and 4-inches beyond the side of the truck. 10 feet overhang is applicable in case the truck’s whole length does not cross the limit of 75 feet.

Final Words

Hauling a long ladder, lumber, pole, etc., takes a lot of effort. From securing the item properly with the truck bed to using the flag or lamp etc. makes it safer while planning for a trip. Knowing the law of minimum overhanging distance of your vehicle will help you in this regard.

If you are a first-timer, this article will help you start your first journey. You will get an idea from the above article about how far a ladder can stick out the back of a truck.

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