Road access for oversize light vehicles
To use many NSW roads, vehicles need to be within particular size and weight limits. If your vehicle goes outside these limits, special conditions apply.
Restrictions apply to how oversize vehicles can be used on NSW roads. These restrictions ensure vehicles aren't too big for the roads they travel on, improve road safety and protect infrastructure.
There are different dimension limits depending on the type of vehicle you plan to drive. In NSW, vehicles are classified as 'light' or 'heavy', depending on their mass.
- Light vehicle – a vehicle or trailer with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) or Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) under 4.5 tonnes.
- Heavy vehicle – a vehicle or trailer with a GVM or ATM of more than 4.5 tonnes.
- GVM – the maximum your vehicle can weigh when fully loaded, according to the manufacturer.
- ATM – the maximum fully loaded weight of the trailer or caravan being towed by your vehicle, shown on the identification plate.
A vehicle and trailer together may be driven as a 'light vehicle combination', provided that neither the vehicle nor the trailer individually exceed 4.5 tonnes.
For information on driving heavy vehicles on NSW roads, see General access heavy vehicles.
Oversize light vehicles
Vehicles that are within the light vehicle dimension limits (PDF 985.63KB) and standards can be driven on all NSW roads. If a vehicle is bigger or heavier than these limits, they are considered 'over-dimension' or 'oversize' – and are too large or heavy for some roads and areas in NSW.
To drive an oversize light vehicle, you may need a special permit, or need to travel under special conditions.
Exemptions for oversize vehicles
You might be able to drive an oversize light vehicle if it meets the requirements of:
- the Rowing Boat Trailer Combination Exemption Notice 2017 (PDF 402.32KB) (row boat exemption)
- the NSW Light Vehicle Agricultural and Load Exemption Ministerial Order 2019 (PDF 228.41KB) (the 2019 Order)
- the NSW Class 1 Carrying Vehicle Operator's Guide.
A vehicle that is higher than 4.3m may only operate on a route that is approved for 4.6m-high vehicles.
Towing a row boat trailer
Oversize vehicles may be driven if they meet the dimension requirements under both the 2017 row boat exemption (PDF 402.32KB) and the 2019 Order (PDF 228.41KB). They cover vehicles that are towing a boat trailer for a dragon boat, kayak, surf ski, or a similar rowing vessel.
Light vehicles that are driven under the row boat exemption must comply with the requirements for dimension, appropriate signage and have the number plate visible.
The 2019 Order (PDF 228.41KB) exemption also has some conditions that impact how and when you can drive these types of vehicles. This includes whether you need to use warning devices or pilot vehicles.
Warning devices – lights, signs and flags used to alert other road users to the large size of the vehicle.
Pilot vehicle – a vehicle that accompanies an oversize light vehicle to alert other road users.
Routes for oversize light vehicles
Oversize light vehicles and trailer combinations can only use particular roads and areas. There are 2 groups of routes and areas that can be driven on. Which one you use depends on your vehicle and what you're using it for:
- Routes and areas for load-carrying vehicles (PDF 4.77MB)
- Routes and areas for agricultural vehicles (PDF 1.73MB)
You can also use this interactive map to determine the routes available to you: NSW Oversize Overmass Load Carrying Vehicles Network map.
Driving under these exemptions
When you drive under either of these exemptions, you must carry a copy of the 2019 Order (PDF 228.41KB), or the 2017 row boat exemption (PDF 402.32KB), with you. If a police officer or authorised roads officer asks, you must be able to show the copy to them.
If you need to be accompanied by a pilot vehicle, the driver of the pilot vehicle must also carry a copy of the relevant notice of suitable routes and areas for your vehicle.
Note: there is no special permit form or fee to drive an oversize light vehicle.
The driver only needs to:
- carry the relevant documents with them, and
- comply with the conditions of the documents.