Driving a moving truck may sound daunting. The vehicle is big and heavy, and maybe you’ve never driven anything like it. But if you apply the following eight tips, you can make the trip confidently, whether it’s a few blocks away or across the country.
1. Rent the Right Size Truck
You need to make sure you rent the right size truck for the amount of belongings you pack. If you rent a truck too small, you can’t fit everything. If you rent a truck too big, the contents of the truck could shift in transit. Shifting makes the drive more difficult and could also result in your belongings getting broken or damaged.
2. Check Your Insurance Coverage
While you don’t typically need a special license to drive a moving truck, your insurance might not have adequate coverage. Call your insurance company or take a close look at your policy. If driving a moving truck is not covered, go ahead and update your policy now.
3. Know the Truck’s Specs
There are three main things about the moving truck you need to know before setting out. One, you need to know its maximum weight capacity. If you come across any weigh stations, you may need to report this information. Secondly, you need to know what kind of fuel the truck takes. Some trucks take diesel, some do not.
And finally, you need to know the truck’s height. Low bridges or underpasses have a sign that tells you exactly how tall they are so you know if you can make it. If it’s too close, don’t attempt it. Find another route.
4. Drive Around the Block First
Take the truck for a short drive around the block once it’s loaded up and ready to go. Find all the controls: turn signals, windshield wipers, climate controls, and other devices. Get accustomed to the side mirrors and lack of rear view mirror, and be aware of the blind spots. You need a feel for driving the vehicle fully loaded before you’re on the freeway.
5. Plot Your Route
Plan your route carefully, especially on longer trips. Any stops you make will need to have adequate parking. If your trip is going to last more than a day, find hotels that have parking specifically for trucks. Do keep in mind as you plan your route that ETAs, unless they’re calculated for trucks in particular, will not be met.
6. Keep the Size of the Truck in Mind
This truck may be significantly larger than anything you’ve ever driven before. Acceleration takes much longer than you’re accustomed to, as does deceleration. Keep a good distance from the car in front of you at all times. Turning also takes up more space than you’re used to, so give yourself plenty of room.
7. Take It Slow
Because acceleration and deceleration take longer, don’t to go too fast. Don’t try to pass another car going just about as fast as you are: it’ll take too long. In some areas, your speed limit is actually lower than other vehicles’. Follow the rules of the road. An accident with a moving truck will be much worse than with your everyday vehicle.
8. Know How and Where to Park
Some hotels have truck parking as do most rest stops along the interstate. Remember to park in those provided areas instead of the normal parking. For other locations, pay attention to where parking is allowed and find somewhere that has enough space, is out of the way, and is easily accessible.
Take it slow and take it easy. Be extra cautious. If weather gets out of hand, stop. Take breaks when you need them. Driving a moving truck may be daunting, but if you use your head and keep these tips in mind, you’ll be fine.