Weigh Stations are all over the country and we have been through most of them. When traveling down the interstates and back roads our eyes are always watching for signs letting us know that a "Weight Station" is up ahead. On some back roads the weigh station or scale can be in the median separating the roads, the scale can be on the right side of the road, or can be in a rest area. There are always signs well in advance to warn of a scale up ahead.
Some are tricky to find, to maneuver through, or even decide in which lane we should travel. The first rule of thumb is read the signs and then read the signs again. There are scales that have one lane designated for trucks that are not carrying freight, there are scales that want you to stop before pulling on to the scale, and there are others that want you to roll slowly across. All have signs and lights letting you know the appropriate response.
Before going into the scale make sure head lights are not on bright, make sure your seat belt use is visible, turn off radio, and open drivers side windows so you can hear any directions that are issued over loud speaker.
Once we turn into a scale we start scanning the signs as each scale will have a posted speed limit and tickets can be issued for speeding. As we approach the truck scale we look for overhead signs, signs on the right, and signs on the left. Some states use red and green lights; others use signs that tell you how to proceed. Some scales want you to stop on the scale and release the brakes, to do this put the truck in neutral and let your foot hover about the brake until we move forward when told to proceed. When pulling onto the scale and pulling off of the scale do so gently and easily. If the sign tells us to exit or return back to the interstate we start picking up speed as soon as we clear the scale so that we can merge back into traffic safely.
If the signs instruct us to pull around back and bring in our paperwork, we proceed to a designated parking spot. Leave the log on duty not driving while in the scale. If you wear prescription glasses to drive leave them on, make sure you have your medical card and keep it on your person while in the scale, bring in the permit book for the truck, if leased to a carrier have a copy of the lease in the permit book. If we are loaded we bring in a copy of our paperwork, if we are hauling Hazmat a copy of the paperwork must be left either in the door pouch or on the drivers seat.
Once inside the scale house we treat the scale personnel with the courtesy and respect we expect to be treated with. We place our driver’s license, medical card, and permit book on the counter. We use an electronic logging device (ELD) and let the scale person know this. In our many years of driving we have been through a lot of scales and we have met some very interesting people. If we have any questions about logging or how to handle a trucking situation this is a great chance to ask them. I have learned a lot by asking questions.
Thanks to Missouri DOT officer Lieutenant Kelley for his assistance with this blog. I enjoyed talking with LT Kelley, as I was able to clarify a couple questions I had about procedures. While talking to him I verified that if under a DoD load that requires dual driver protection and we are called into the scale, the scale is considered a safe haven at that point and our partner may remain in the sleeper.