If you’re anything like me, the transition from driving a Honda Civic to a 26′ moving truck was intimidating. I had never driven anything that big in my life, and the reassurance of damage coverage still had me shaking in my boots. Here are some tips for driving a moving truck that will have you feeling confident and ready to get the show on the road. Familiarize yourself with these driving basics before hopping behind the wheel of your rental.
Before you Drive
Seat belt First
Just like your passenger car, buckling up your seat belt is step one! This is second nature to most, but remember that a seat belt is the best safety device for preventing injury.
Adjust Your Mirrors
Compared to your standard car, a moving truck has no rear view mirror in the middle of the dashboard. There is a blind spot in the rear of the truck, so it is important to rely on the side view mirrors. Prior to driving, make sure to adjust your mirrors to give you the best vantage point. When changing lanes or merging onto the freeway pay close attention to the traffic and vehicles around you. Allow yourself as much room as possible and to avoid small, tight spaces.
Looking at the dashboard of a moving truck may have you feeling like you are sitting in a spaceship. Don’t worry– it is much easier than you think. Familiarize yourself with all the controls of the moving truck to know how things work. This includes how to turn on your lights, windshield wipers, signals, and the air conditioner or heater.
While You’re Driving
Turning Your Moving Truck
During my time behind the wheel, I always maintained more than a car lengths space between me and cars surrounding to allow enough time to turn and stop. Space is a necessity when turning as you will need to make wider turns. Use your mirrors to make sure you are clear to turn. Never tailgate and never try to pass another car on curves, hills, or narrow
Pay attention to road signs relating to trucks including the overhead pass clearance. Not only is your moving truck wider than your passenger car, but it is also taller! It is important to keep that in mind before traveling under drive-through restaurants, motel overhangs, service stations, canopies, bridges, balconies, roof eaves, awnings, electrical wires, and tree limbs.
If the overhead clearance is not posted, do not guess! Make sure to get out of your moving truck and confirm the truck will clear any obstruction.
With a moving truck’s cargo filled with belongings, it is important to remember that your rental weighs more than your normal car. More weight means that it requires more time to stop and accelerate. Drive at a cautious speed to make sure both you and your belongings arrive in pristine condition. If adverse weather conditions occur during your move, such as snow or rain, reduce your speed until the conditions better; you can even pull to the side until conditions clear. Adhere to all traffic signs, lights and speed limits. Use caution at all intersections and stops. Check left, right, then left again.
Avoid Tight Spaces
Parking a moving truck can be challenging without the right tips. Trust me– I barely got parallel parking in my compact car down. Don’t fret! First, plan ahead and scan the lot for a leveled place to park that has a clear path to the exit. Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for trees or other obstacles that could affect your clearance. Find a spot that has more than enough room between you and the surrounding cars. Avoid tight spaces at all costs! Park where you can avoid backing up. If you must back up have someone direct you from outside and act as a spotter.
Set the Parking Brake
Once you have successfully parked your moving truck, always set the parking break in place! It will help keep your truck in a stationary position despite carrying a heavier load. To set the parking brake, firmly pull the handle until locks into a vertical position. Then move the shift selector into park to secure the truck.
Do you have any tips for driving a moving truck? Share in the comments below!