Moving is a costly process on its own, but with poor planning before a move, relocating can be a highly stressful and financially draining experience, both during and after the move. Fortunately, you can move while staying on budget. Use this guide to learn more about the things you can do to save money on your upcoming move.
Are you planning a road trip with your extended family? If you have to move a lot of people at once, you need to plan differently when it’s just you and your own children.
No matter whether it’s a reunion, a family wedding, or just a little vacation time, you can make sure everyone has a great time by following these ideas.
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.
Whether you need to relocate for a new job, for school, or simply because you want a change of scenery, the transition alone can be quite stressful. And if you have to move during the summertime, you know that this busy time of year may make the experience even more difficult.
However, you can make your next move go much smoother if you follow the tips in this blog. Read on to learn how your next move can be easier to manage.
1. Know the Least Busy Time to Move During Summer
As previously mentioned, summertime is the busiest time of year for moves. Many people use vacation time in the summer to move, and movers are often booked through to the end of the summer months. This busy time makes it more difficult for you to rent a large enough truck or efficient movers when you need them.
When you consider moving during the summer, know the best times to move during the season. You should avoid moving at the end of the month and or on weekends. These times are busy during any season, but particularly in the summer.
Also avoid moving on holiday weekends, like Memorial Day, because hundreds of people use this day off to execute their moves. Instead, move in the middle of the month on a weekday. You should also move in the earlier part of the summer if you can control when you’ll move. Using these tips ensures you have all the help you need come moving day.
2. Reserve Your Moving Truck As Soon As Possible
Once you determine when you want to move, book your moving truck and other moving services well in advance. Even if your move is several months away, call around to different movers to find the best deal. After you choose the company you want to hire, reserve your truck, movers, and materials.
Again, because most people move in the summer, you want to make sure you have everything you need on moving day. Some companies will ask you to put down a deposit when you book your rental, but this money ensures you have the proper vehicle, materials, and services when moving day arrives.
As an additional tip, be flexible about when you can move if possible. This flexibility may get you cheaper rates depending on the moving company. When you call around to different moving companies, ask them if they offer discounts or deals on the days surrounding your move. If they do, take advantage of those deals.
3. Invest in Packing Supplies Early On
Whether your moving company offers moving supplies or not, you’ll want to purchase these materials as soon as you know you’re going to move. You’ll want to purchase or collect supplies such as:
- Crates or tubs
- Bubble wrap
- Box tape
- Permanent markers
- Trash bags
All of these materials will allow you to store and keep track of your items as you pack them up. You can also use these items during clean up as well.
Additionally, you may want to create an inventory list in a notebook or on your smartphone or tablet. This list simply ensures you know what items are in each box and which room each box belongs in once you arrive at your new home.
4. Start Packing Well in Advance
After you collect all of your packing supplies, start packing. It doesn’t matter if your move is a few months away. The sooner you start packing, the less you have to do last minute-and the smoother your move will go on moving day.
Start slow. For example, pack up your stored items first. Tuck away winter coats, shoes, and clothing, and box up all of your unused holiday decorations. As the move draws nearer, start packing up items you use more often, but still not frequently. Continue this process until you have all of your belongings packed. Remember to pack your moving day survival kit as well.
5. Pack in the Evenings
Since the summertime is usually hot and humid, any extra exertion may cause you to feel too hot or sticky. Instead of risking dehydration and getting overheated, pack in the evenings. The nights are often cooler, so you won’t overheat as you pack up.
6. Take Breaks as You Load and Unload Your Truck
When moving day arrives, remember to take a few breaks as you load your moving truck and unload it at your new place. Drink plenty of water and eat a couple of small snacks to replenish your energy. If you have movers doing this task, make sure they take breaks as well.
Ready for Your Upcoming Move?
Use the tips above as you plan for your summertime move. Don’t forget to call your local movers early on and schedule their services in advance. The last thing you want on moving day is to find out that you don’t have a moving truck rental available.
If you have any other questions about your upcoming move, or you need more tips to prepare for the transition, talk to your moving professionals. These experts have years of experience in the industry and can address all of your concerns and provide you with sound tips you need to have a smooth and efficient move.
As you plan your wedding, you realize that you’ll have to start looking for new housing. After all, if you live in a one-bedroom loft apartment by yourself, there might not be enough space for you and your soon-to-be spouse.
But amidst all the wedding planning and searching for an apartment, you might start to stress about everything you need to accomplish. If you don’t already live together, you need to find a place that fits both your needs and your future spouse’s needs. You also need to pack up two apartments and consolidate them into one new home.
To reduce the worry and stress you may feel during an already chaotic time, we’ve listed several tips for soon-to-be newlyweds to make the moving process easier. Read on to learn what you can do to make your upcoming move go more smoothly.
- Start About Two Months Before Moving Day
With so many things to plan and organize before your wedding day, you know that planning ahead of time is crucial for any task. This same idea also applies to moving. You don’t want to procrastinate packing, cleaning, and moving until right before your big day.
Instead, start the moving process at least two months before your set moving day. You have several chores to accomplish, and the more time you have to finish these tasks, the less stressed you’ll feel.
- Take an Inventory of Your Possessions
Before you even begin packing, you and your future spouse should take an inventory of all of your possessions. Compile a written or electronic document that lists everything you own. You may also want to include any items you expect from your registry as gifts.
By making an inventory of your possessions, you know exactly what you own and how much you need to transport between apartments or homes.
- Downsize All of Your Belongings
After you make your inventory list, you may want to downsize your belongings. Between you and your significant other, you may have duplicates of some items. For example, you and your future spouse may have two sets of dishes, several different pots and pans, and three or four couches.
Your new apartment or house may not be large enough to accommodate so many duplicate items. Additionally, the more belongings you have to move between locations, the more money you’ll spend on moving costs.
Rather than pay a lot of money to move unnecessary belongings, downsize your belongings. Go through your inventory list and decide which items you want to keep. For example, if you both have TVs, decide which one you want to keep and which one you want to get rid of. Sell, donate, or toss the unwanted items.
- Set a Schedule
Another great way to reduce stress as you plan a wedding and a move is to set a schedule. Choose a paper calendar you like, or use the calendar on your phone or another electronic device. Set time aside each day to pack and clean. You can also give yourself one week per month to work on one room in your apartment.
Start with packing your items into boxes and covering large pieces of furniture. Then, focus on cleaning each individual room and making repairs as needed. As you stick to a set schedule, you’ll be able to accomplish everything on your to-do list with ease.
If you have too many tasks to finish and not enough time to do everything, ask family members and friends if they can help you. Include these helpers in your schedule so you know who to expect on which days. This additional organization can make moving less of a burden and more of a fun opportunity to spend time with your loved ones.
- Take Breaks
As you work according to your set schedule, make sure to take breaks in between packing, cleaning, and moving. You don’t want to overwork
or overwhelm yourself. Use your break time to grab a bite to eat with your future spouse. After work, order in and watch a short movie to unwind.
Whatever you choose to do, you’ll want to do something that keeps you calm and that rejuvenates you when you start packing again.
- Rent the Right Size of Moving Truck
You don’t want to rent a truck that’s too big or too small for the amount of items you need to transport. Once you’ve downsized and packed, contact your local moving truck renters to see what sizes of moving trucks they offer.
Not sure which truck will best fit your needs and budget? Talk to the staff at the moving company and ask them for their recommendation. They’ll ask you about how big your old apartment was to determine how much space you’ll need inside the moving truck.
As you prepare to move in with your spouse, use the tips in this blog to reduce your stress and make the moving process go much smoother. You should also contact a professional moving company to reserve your rental truck so it’s available when you need to move into your new home or apartment.
Want more tips about moving and packing? Check out the rest of our blog. You’ll find various tips and tricks to help you with every aspect of moving.
A move involves many stresses. After all, you have multiple tasks to accomplish in a short period of time. You have to put your current residence up for sale (or tell your landlord that you’re moving so he or she can rent the unit out to a new tenant). You also have to clean your home or apartment, pack all of your belongings, and then haul everything across the city, state, or country.
Don’t let your worries and concerns get the best of you during your move. Instead, take the following steps before you even start packing up boxes. These tips will reduce the stress you feel as you prepare for your next move. And once it’s time for you to move, you’ll be ready to tackle the day with ease.
1. Eliminate Clutter in Your Home
After you’ve scheduled your moving day, you’ll want to start packing as soon as you can. When you move to your new home or apartment, however, you don’t want to fill your new space with broken, unused, or useless items.
Before you start packing, make sure to eliminate the clutter in your home. Read through our previous blog post about decluttering your home for tips.
2. Sell Unused or Unwanted Items
You can also make a little extra money from your unwanted belongings if you decide to sell them. In the decluttering blog mentioned above, you’ll find tips on holding a garage sale to sell your gently used items.
If you prefer a more convenient way to sell these items, place ads on Craigslist. This online sales platform allows you to post online ads for each of your belongings. You can sell the following items on Craigslist:
- Appliances (such as stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, toasters, and coffee makers)
- Furniture (including couches, gently used mattresses, bed frames, chairs, and tables) Movies
- Video games
You can even download the Craigslist cPro app onto your phone. This app lets you post ads online directly from your phone to make the entire process easier to manage.
3. Create a Moving Checklist
Rather than haphazardly throwing your clothes, dishes, and other belongings into boxes, make a moving checklist well before you start packing.
For the most effective results (and minimal stress), your checklist should start about two months before your move. You can break your checklist down by month or by week, whichever option works best for you personally. Items on your checklist could include:
- Pack slightly used items such as books, games, and decorations two months before the move.
- Transfer medical, dental, school, and veterinary records to your new area a month before the move.
- Print labels for all of your boxes three weeks before the move.
To make this step even easier, print a premade moving checklist. You can find dozens of checklists online, so choose the one that best fits your specific situation.
4. Reserve the Moving Van
Moving companies might not be available when you need them, so be sure to call your movers and reserve their services well in advance. Peak moving season typically runs through the spring and summer, so your movers are more likely to be booked during this time period. Non-peak season lasts during fall and winter, and your movers will be easier to book.
No matter when you choose to move, you’ll still want to reserve a moving van and a moving crew as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may not have the proper help or equipment come moving day. Most moving companies allow you to make a reservation six months in advance. Be sure to ask your movers how early you can reserve their services and if they offer discounts for early bookings.
5. Download Moving Apps
Finally, download a few different moving apps onto your phone, tablet, or other mobile device. These apps can help you organize your move and avoid any hiccups on moving day.
Dark Sky allows you to track the weather in your area, so you can avoid moving boxes in and out of the rain. Additionally, this app tells you how long poor weather should last so you can better coordinate your schedule.
Evernote lets you save notes, lists, and online articles to make your move more organized. So if you’d rather save your moving checklist to your phone, this app can store it.
Moving Van helps you keep track of your boxes, and the app notes the contents of each box as well. While you pack, take pictures of each box’s contents, load them into the app, and write down which room each box belongs in. When you unpack in your new home, Moving Van makes it easier to identify which box goes where.
Make moving day easier to manage, and follow the pre-moving day tips above. You’ll make the packing and moving process more relaxed, and you’ll be able to approach moving day with confidence. For more tips about moving and packing, read through the rest of our blog.
After years of saving, Mel finally had enough money for a down payment on a new home. She placed an offer and hoped the buyers would accept it. When her realtor called and said her offer had been accepted, Mel jumped for joy. She soon packed up her belongings and moved into this new house.
But during the first day in her home, she realized that she needed a few items to stay comfortable. Unfortunately, she didn’t know which boxes these basic necessities were in. As a result, she spent hours unpacking boxes and suitcases to find a toothbrush and her pajamas.
If you’re preparing to move into a new home, don’t follow in Mel’s footsteps. Instead, make your move less stressful and build your own moving day survival kit. This kit contains basic essentials you need to make it through your first night with minimal stress.
Simply purchase a clear plastic tub or two and pack the following items inside. And don’t forget to place your survival kit in an easily accessible area of your new home so you can get to it whenever you need it.
Whether you move into your new home first thing in the morning or in the early evening, one thing’s for sure: you’ll want a comfy place to sleep at night.
Pack a set of clean bedding in your survival kit, including:
- Sheets (flat and fitted)
- Pillows and pillow cases
- Light blankets
To save room in your kit for other items, fold your sheets and light blankets and store them inside your pillows. Then, you’ll only have to grab the pillows and set them on top of your kit.
If you don’t have a mattress to sleep on in your new home, remember to purchase an air mattress (with an automatic pump) and bring this item with you as well.
After a long day of lugging boxes between the moving truck and your house, you’d probably enjoy a refreshing shower. But you won’t be able to spritz off if you can’t find your toiletries.
Make sure to include the following items in your survival kit:
- Shower curtain
- Small bath mat
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Soap or body wash
- Toothbrush & Paste
To save space inside your kit, visit your local drugstore and purchase travel-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. You’ll also want to pack a roll of toilet paper for your bathroom.
3. Cleaning Supplies
You may arrive in your new home to find that it needs a quick cleaning. Add cleaning supplies to your survival kit so you can wipe down a few surfaces and sweep the floors. Consider cleaning supplies such as:
- Small broom and dustpan
- Paper towels and rags
- Multipurpose cleaner
- Dish soap and sponge
If you prefer to avoid using chemical cleaners on your surfaces, mix the following ingredients to make an all-natural disinfectant spray:
- One gallon warm water (Put water in first so the vinegar and baking soda don’t foam out.)
- Half a cup baking soda
- Half a cup of vinegar
- Two tablespoons dish soap
Mix these ingredients together in a bucket and divide the liquid into a few empty spray bottles. Shake each bottle before use.
4. Disposable Dishes
You’ll want to spend more time organizing your new home than cleaning up after mealtimes, so bring disposable dishes with you. Once you finish eating, you can throw these items in the garbage for easy cleanup. Include disposable plates and silverware in your survival kit, as well as napkins or paper towels.
To put your disposable dishes to good use, make meal arrangements before you move into your home. You could ask friends to bring you dinner on your first night or order take out from your favorite restaurant.
5. Spare Clothing
You won’t have time to unpack and organize all of your belongings during the first night in your new home. But if you pack a few sets of spare clothes in your survival kit, you’ll at least have something to wear for a day or two after the move.
Include spare clothing such as:
If you have to work the morning after your move, don’t forget to include a spare suit or work outfit. Rather than fold your attire and place it in your survival kit, place the ensemble in a garment bag and hang it next to your bed.
6. Electronics Chargers
Remember to charge your electronics the night before you move. But to stay on the safe side, pack the chargers for the following electronics inside your survival box:
- Cell phone
You can also place each charger in a separate, labeled sandwich bag so you don’t forget which charger belongs to which device.
You may also want to include a few doses of over-the-counter medications in your kit. These medications could include:
- Allergy medications
If you take prescription medication each day, include a few doses of each prescription in your survival kit as well.
As you prepare for your next move, remember to create your own survival kit. Include the items listed above, and don’t forget to customize your kit to your specific needs. For more moving tips, check out the rest of our blog!
When you decide to leave the nest, you probably experience a range of emotions. You feel excited about the new experiences you’ll encounter, but you also feel a little nervous at the responsibilities you’ll face once you live on your own.
With the proper preparation, moving out for the first time can give you confidence in your abilities. When you take the time to make a clear plan before you throw your belongings in the moving van, you’ll reap the benefits of independence without sacrificing your comforts.
Read our first-time mover’s checklist of seven things you should do before the moving van arrives.
Item #1: Save Your Money
In order to pay for your own place, you’ll need to put down your first and last month’s rent in advance. You’ll also shoulder the costs for your electricity, water, and phone bills. If your parents have typically paid these expenses in the past, you might want to save up your paychecks for a little while before you take the plunge and move out.
Item #2: Make a Plan
Once you’ve saved up your cash, create a detailed plan for your move. Include every task you want to accomplish, and give each task its own deadline to make sure you stay on schedule.
You also should set a monthly budget for all your expenses. Financial experts recommend that you save 10% of your income each month, so you’ll want to budget for a rainy day in addition to your regular expenses.
Item #3: Store Your Valuables
After you decide on a plan, you can start sorting through your belongings. Your first apartment might not have the closet space for all of your stuff, so choose wisely.
Remember, anything from your distant past-scrapbooks, memorabilia from elementary school, or vacation souvenirs-will still be there at your parents’ house when you want to visit. Don’t feel obligated to take every sentimental item with you into your new place.
Item #4: Toss Your Junk
Next, identify all of your possessions that you don’t want to bring or store. If you can’t recall a good reason to hold on to your old stuffed animals or swimsuits that no longer fit, get rid of them.
For gently used items, consider donating to a thrift store. You can feel good about letting go of your old stuff, and your goods can benefit someone new.
Item #5: Furnish Your New Place
Ask your future landlord about the status of your apartment or home. Even if you’re not the first tenant, you may have to provide your own furnishings.
Set apart part of your moving budget to cover basic furniture and supplies for your bedroom. Keep in mind that depending on how far away you move, you may prefer to buy large furniture items, like mattresses and tables, once you arrive.
You also want to remember to outfit your kitchen and bathroom too. Even if you know exactly where your parents keep the cleaning supplies, as soon as you move out you’re on your own. Make a list of kitchen basics to buy in advance, and expand your grocery list once you settle down.
Item #6: Pack the Bare Minimum
Once you’ve rid your closet of unwanted items and put your childhood toys safely in storage, you can begin packing. To save money when the movers come, you can opt to pack your own valuables. Wrap up fragile items in tissue paper or bubble wrap, and make sure not to crush these items with heavier objects.
For all your other clothes, books, and gear, you’ll want to sort your stuff into piles and then place them in boxes with other similar items. That way when you go to unpack, you won’t have to take everything out before you find what you’re looking for.
Invest in some quality packing materials, like boxes and Styrofoam peanuts, and tape up your boxes to make sure they don’t burst open in the moving van. Also take care to label any fragile items with clear instructions for the movers.
Item #7: Call the Experts
Schedule an appointment with your local moving company a few weeks prior to your move-in date. Give your company enough advance warning to make sure that they have the moving van or trailer available in your moment of need.
Movers can also help you transport fragile items that you wouldn’t be able to get out of the doorway on your own. For specialty items like musical instruments or antiques, consult your moving experts beforehand and request the necessary equipment.
Moving out for the first time gives you an opportunity to reinvent yourself and simplify your life. When you remember these seven tips before moving day, you’ll enjoy every step of the moving process without getting overwhelmed by the task at hand.
For more information, call a moving company to help you understand the cost of moving all of your stuff out of your parents’ basement and into your own space.
You feel like packing and moving represent some of the most arduous tasks known to mankind. You have so many things to do, and you lack the time to accomplish everything before moving day arrives.
What you really want is some sort of spell that will pack your house for you. And though you can’t wave a magic wand and instantly have a packed home, you can try some of these packing tips to make your move easier to manage.
- Buy different colors of tape.
It’s easy to pack items, tape up the box, and move on to your next task. But sometimes you forget what items you packed in each box and where each box belongs in your home. Rather than reopen boxes to look at the contents and write a label, use a color code system.
As you buy boxes and other packing supplies, invest in different colors of duct tape (or other packing tape). Assign each room a color and tape up your boxes with that color of tape. Open up the notepad app on your smartphone and create a color code list so that you don’t forget which room is pink, blue, red, or yellow. Your list might look something like this:
- Living room-purple
- Master bedroom-orange
Tape comes in a plethora of colors and patterns, so you’ll never run out of different options to use as you pack.
- Don’t buy bubble wrap.
Bubble wrap tends to cost a lot, especially when you have a lot of breakable items to protect. Instead of spending your moving budget on bubble wrap, secure your breakable items with clothing, towels, and linens. You can stuff a pair of clean socks inside your glass mugs, wrap plates and glass bake ware with T-shirts, and fill loose spaces in boxes with hand towels.
As you use your clothing and like items to protect your breakable items, you also save space and reduce your need for additional boxes and packing materials.
- Invest in lock boxes. If you have a lot of valuables, you might want to purchase a lock box. You can put your valuables inside and safely transport them between locations. Valuable items to store in a lock box include:
- Bank records
- Birth certificates
- Car titles
- Insurance information
- Marriage documents
- Wills and other legal documents
4. Move your books in suitcases.
You never notice how heavy books are until you have to move. Rather than break your back lifting heavy boxes of books, use your suitcases to transport your favorite pieces of literature. Clothes are incredibly light, so you can easily pack your clothes in boxes and duffle bags. Fill your suitcases with books and zip the case closed. Most suitcases have wheels and handles, so you can roll your books right out the front door.
- Pack an overnight bag.
Chances are that you can’t unpack everything immediately. Pack an overnight bag with immediate essentials such as clothing, toiletries, phone chargers, medication, and other items you might need at first.
6. Pack one room at a time.
It’s so easy to get distracted as you pack and move around your house. Instead of packing random boxes throughout your home, pack one room at a time. Start in the rooms you use least and finish with the rooms that you use most. You become more effective as you pack from room to room, and you’ll finish packing sooner than you think.
- Repurpose your phone books.
Phone books tend to appear out of nowhere, and since you don’t really have a use for them, you probably just shoved them in an empty cabinet or shelf in your home. Repurpose these old phone books and use the pages to wrap glass and other breakable items.
8. Reutilize your sandwich bags.
When you disassemble furniture such as tables, desks, bookshelves, TV stands, and other big items, you can easily lose the screws and bolts. So, before you take an item apart, grab a sandwich bag from your kitchen and write the furniture’s label on the bag. Place the screws, bolts, nails, etc. inside the bag as you disassemble the item. This method keeps allows you to more easily reassemble your furniture when you get to your new home.
9. Take pictures.
Do you remember how difficult it was for you to set up your flat screen TV when you first got it? You don’t want to relive that awful moment. Before you unplug your TV or other big electronics, take a picture of the back. When you set up these electronics in your new home, reference the picture for a faster set up time. You’ll know where each cable goes instantly.
Don’t let moving stresses make you feel miserable and frazzled. Use these tips to make packing an easier experience. This way, you’ll handle and enjoy the last few days you have in your current home.
Trailers offer the space you need for a big move or a weekend camping trip. But the extra space comes with extra responsibility and liability.
Whether you’re a first-time trailer owner or you’re simply renting a trailer for the week, you should know what to do before, during, and after a trip.
Before You Go
To prepare for your drive, check the brake lights and make sure you’ve fully secured the trailer.
You’ll also want to practice behind the wheel. When you tow the trailer, it will feel different depending on your car-trailer combinations. Before your trip, be sure to test out your specific car-trailer setup.
Perform this test in a big, empty space, like a parking lot. You can practice turning, backing up, and stopping.
You’ll need to make larger turns with a trailer, and you might find it difficult to tell just how much space your trailer needs without practice. If you don’t train, you risk hitting curbs, telephone poles, and even pedestrians.
Practice adjusting your turn as well. If you realize you’ve made a too-tight turn, you can back up and try again if there’s no one behind you in the road.
It takes time and practice for you to feel comfortable backing up a trailer. Give yourself plenty of time in a safe space to get a handle on the technique.
You will likely not be able to see as clearly when backing up with an extra load, so have someone help you back out whenever you can.
Back up slowly with your hand firmly on the bottom of the steering wheel. As you turn your hand left, the vehicle and tow will move left and vice versa.
Avoid big or sudden movements since they can affect your position more than you might realize. Instead, use small, deliberate motions. If you need to, pull back in, realign, and start over.
Jackknifing while backing up is a common problem, so take the time to learn proper technique. Jackknifing is the term used to describe when the shape of a vehicle and trailer move pass an L shape and form a V shape.
To avoid this, go slow and make small movements when backing out. Again, you can always pull back in and readjust if necessary.
Because of the added weight, it will take extra time and energy for your vehicle and trailer to stop. Test how long it takes you to stop in the parking lot, and pay attention to distance. This will help you know how far you should drive behind other cars.
On the Road
In our previous post (https://www.delstruckrentals.com/stay-safe-truck-rental-seattle-wa/), we talked about basic trailer safety. In addition to things like knowing your clearance and using your mirrors, you’ll also want to know a little about driving on the road and trailer sway.
Signaling and Passing
It’s especially important when hauling a trailer to signal well before you intend to pass or change lanes. And, of course, you should be extra cautious and ensure you have enough space for you and your additional load.
Pass or change lanes on level road whenever possible. Refrain from passing on uphill or downhill grades since it’s more difficult to control speed and movement.
Additionally, downshift when necessary on uphill or downhill terrain. When you drive downhill for long stretches, use your brakes in intervals instead of a constant application, which can cause the brakes to overheat.
Another good reason to avoid speeding, especially when you drive downhill, is to avoid trailer sway.
Trailer sway can be very dangerous and frightening to experience. This phenomenon can come from an unbalanced trailer load, jerky steering, wind, or speeding.
As the trailer moves back and forth, it gains momentum and the sway is further aggravated. To remedy the situation, apply the trailer’s brakes and slow down to a stop. If you apply the vehicle brakes, they won’t reduce trailer sway. In fact, doing so can make the situation worse.
You may also feel wind gusts from larger cars passing. To help control sway in this situation, try releasing the acceleration and steering firmly. If the trailer continues to sway, pull off and check to see if the trailer is balanced.
At Your Destination
When your trip is through, there are a few more practices you’ll want to use for safe and secure parking.
Whenever possible, opt for level ground instead of a slope. If you need to park on a grade, put parking blocks behind the wheels on the downslope (you’ll need an extra hand for this), apply the parking brake, shift into park, and then release the brake.
When you unhitch the trailer, place parking blocks in front of and behind the tires to keep the trailer from rolling away.
When it’s time to use a trailer, be sure you’re ready for the trip. Use these tips to prepare for before, during, and after your adventure.