Self Move? Rental Truck Driving Tips
If hiring movers just is not in your budget, or if you are only moving boxes and not any heavy furniture, you will likely still need a moving truck. There is something you should know though; these trucks are not nearly as easy to drive as they look! Even the smallest ones are a lot more awkward than you would expect, and offer a ton of blind spots. If you do need a larger truck, you will likely feel your knuckles turning white as you grip the steering wheel. That being said, while your driving experience may be a little challenging, it does not have to be brutal.
Know the Dimensions
Maybe you don’t pay much attention to those height limit signs that are posted on bridges and above drive-thru areas at banks, but you will wish you had paid attention when you get stuck. If you are lucky, you won’t be traveling at a speed over 10 miles per hour when it happens. A rental truck is a lot taller than your vehicle, and is therefore affected by these signs.
You need to know the height and width of the truck you are driving and ideally, you will drive the route in your vehicle first to make sure that you don’t need to make any detours. Keep in mind that the canopies at some gas stations are quite low, so you will need to choose where you stop to fill up thoughtfully.
Fair enough, you are in a hurry to get your new place, but your day is going to experience a much bigger delay when you rear end the person in front of you. Keep in mind that these trucks weigh as much as 10 times more than your car when full, so their braking distance to zero is significantly longer. Always stay at least a truck’s length behind the vehicle in front of you, if not more.
It can be tempting to pass the person in front of you one a two-lane road, but these trucks don’t have the acceleration and passing power that your vehicle likely does. As a rule, if the driver in front of you is going at least 40 miles per hour, don’t pass them. If they are going slower than that, you still don’t want to pass on curves or hills or when it is raining or snowing out. You should not use the passing lane on the highway either.
Get to Know Your Truck
Taking a few minutes to get acquainted with your truck before you head out on the road can make a huge difference. Switches and gauges will be very different than what you are used to. The last thing you want is to have to figure out how to turn your wipers on when you are driving to drive.
You also want to take the time to adjust the mirrors. Understand that not only will you have blind spots on either side, you won’t have a rearview mirror to see what is going on behind you.
Even if you are one of those drivers who makes sudden stops and rarely uses their turn signal, this can’t happen in a moving truck. You can’t see who is behind you, so you must provide other drivers with signals. Also, when you arrive to an intersection, it is recommended to slow down and look both ways.
Bring a Buddy
Another set of eyes on the passenger side can be very helpful when switching lanes. Not only that, when you arrive at your destination, they can get out and guide you to park. You may not see low branches or awnings, but they will be able to.