Driving a moving truck of any size is actually a really simple task. Even when you add an extra 20 feet of trailer onto the back of it, for a possible total of up to 46 feet, making a move across distances long and short can be done by anyone over the age of 18 with a drivers license. Millions of people with little to no experience do it every single year!
But there are some tips that can make the journey just that much easier. Sure, the truck may require a little bit of getting used to, but after the first few miles you’ll be as good as gold. Our Trailering Experts share their expertise on how to drive a moving truck with an auto transport.
Take a Practice Run
Before the truck is loaded up it’s worth it to give your new wheels a spin. The drive home from the U-Haul Center may do the job, but if not, take a few extra laps around the neighborhood. Be sure to observe how the combination handles — that includes turning, accelerating, decelerating and the like.
As always, take time before you pull out to familiarize yourself with the controls. Locate the switch for the headlights, windshield wipers and defroster.
Increase Following Distance
The general rule of thumb for following distance is 2-3 Mississippi’s, and those are full, slow Mississippi’s! But with the extended length tacked on by the Auto Transport, 4-6 seconds will generally provide for enough stopping distance.
Keeping an appropriate distance from the back bumper of the car in front of you will provide the best opportunity for avoiding a potential accident.
Use the Mirrors
U-Haul moving trucks are designed with specialized mirrors that allow for greater visibility in the area immediately around the moving truck. Because you can’t readily check your blind spots, lane changes and turns could prove more difficult in a moving truck than in your average passenger vehicle.
That’s why the mirrors are so important — they make it that much easier to have a clear view down the sides of the truck. Use the mirrors to your advantage and check them frequently! They will help you navigate down curvy roads and straight stretches of highway. It never hurts to have a passenger check over their shoulder for you too.
Practice Defensive Driving
Be sure to avoid sudden starts and stops — remember that your combination length may now be double that of what it was without the trailer. If you’ve driven for a while, take a break or switch off the driving responsibilities. Staying alert and focused behind the wheel is extremely important.
Drive Slower Than Normal
Always decrease your speed when driving a moving truck, and when towing an auto transport. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security because your trailer tows easily at higher speeds. An emergency road hazard that would be avoidable at 55 mph might become unavoidable at 60 mph. Reducing your speed is important to protect not only yourself, but also your cargo, the equipment and other drivers on the road alike.
Make Your Move Early
Is your exit coming up in two miles, but a spot is open in the right lane now? Take that spot! Not every driver may be willing to let a moving truck in front of them a mile and a half down the road. There may not even be any room at all — remember that the added length can make it difficult to merge and change lanes in thick traffic.
Have you driven a moving truck while towing an Auto Transport before? Do you have any helpful tips to make it easier for everyone? Let us know in the comments below.