Tips for Driving a Moving Van or Truck

truck 1Moving is stressful no matter how you slice it. Even when you’ve prepared and have plenty of lead time, it always seems to be more work than you think it will be. Packing and sorting would present enough of a challenge, but for many of us, moving also means driving a vehicle that’s considerably larger and more unwieldy than our usual modes of transportation. The goal of this article is to give you some tips about how to drive your rented moving vehicle safely.

Renting the Truck

The first thing you need to do is decide how large a truck you need. In general, the smaller the truck is, the easier it will to be to handle. Do your best to estimate how much space you need. Many moving companies provide online tools to help customers figure out which size to rent.

You do not need a special license to drive a moving truck.

Before You Drive

There are some special challenges associated with driving a truck. Here are some things to keep in mind before you drive:

  1. Plan out your trip and make sure to bring a hard copy of directions in case your GPS fails or you’re in a cell phone dead zone.
  2. Note fuel stops as needed. If you’re on an interstate you shouldn’t have a problem, but make sure you know what kind of fuel the truck requires. Some large trucks run on diesel fuel and you have to make sure you can get what you need. It’s a good idea to find out your truck’s mileage. Many trucks only get between 10 and 12 miles per gallon, so plan accordingly.
  3. When you get into the truck, take time to adjust your mirrors. Remember that you’re going to have a blind spot on each side of the truck and you won’t have the use of a rear view mirror.
  4. Familiarize yourself with all of the relevant controls, including the directionals, windshield wipers, and headlights.
  5. Take note of your vehicle’s height and how much clearance you need.

Once you have taken these steps you’re ready to start driving.

While Driving

moving house vanFinally, here are some tips to help you once you’re on the road.

  1. Leave extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you. The truck you’re driving is heavier than your normal vehicle and you need to leave space to brake safely.
  2. Use caution while turning. A big truck has to take turns wide and you need to be careful to leave enough room to turn without hitting other vehicles.
  3. Don’t pass other vehicles on curves, hills, or anywhere else that might prove to be problematic. A good rule of thumb is to pass only when you have a long stretch of road that’s clear.
  4. Stick to the speed limit, and drive under it if road conditions are dangerous. Always remember that you’re going to need more space than you would in a car, and drive accordingly.
  5. If you can, try to avoid parking in places where you’ll need to back out. It’s much easier to drive forward out of a parking lot than it is to back into traffic.
  6. If you have to park on the street or any kind of incline, for loading or unloading then curb your wheels by turning them toward the curb if you are facing downhill and away from the curb if you are facing uphill.

One final tip. You can conserve gas by accelerating slowly and keeping the time you spend idling to a minimum. Make sure to keep a close eye on the gas gauge and stop to refuel before the tank gets too low.

Driving a big truck can be a challenge, but if you follow these simple tips you’ll be sure to reach your destination safely.

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