When you think about moving, your thoughts may focus mostly on the preparation that you need to complete, from packing to making arrangements for utilities in your next housing situation.
With this focus, you may get to the point where you actually need to start moving your belongings and realize that you don’t feel confident going from your current house to your new home in your chosen rental vehicle.
Unless you drive large vehicles on a regular basis, operating a moving truck could be an intimidating prospect for you. In this blog, we list six tips to help you conquer this task regardless of your previous experience with oversized vehicles.
1. Check the Weight and Clearance First
In order to successfully operate a large vehicle, you need to understand the scale of the vehicle you’re driving. The company you rented from can provide you with much of this perspective, including how long the truck measures and how much fuel the tank holds.
Additionally, you’ll need to know the weight of the loaded truck and the overhead clearance.
The weight of your truck determines whether or not you need to stop at weigh stations during your trip. Generally, trucks over 10,000 pounds must drive through a weight station. Some states do not require noncommercial vehicles to stop, so check the rules for states along your route.
The overhead clearance of your truck may limit which routes you can take and may prevent you from going through drive-throughs on the way. In most cases, the clearance is listed on a decal inside the cab. If not, look through the operator manual or consult your rental company.
2. Give Yourself a Practice Run
Truck handling can differ dramatically from any other vehicle you usually drive, even if your personal vehicles are on the larger side. Schedule enough time on your moving day so that you can do a small amount of driving before starting your trip.
During this practice run, familiarize yourself with the acceleration, turning radius and braking for the vehicle. If possible, also practice parking in an empty lot to avoid fender benders in parking lots at restaurants, grocery stores, or hotels during your journey.
3. Keep a Longer Following Distance
The heavier a vehicle is, the more space it needs to come to a full and complete stop. Practice braking in the truck to ensure that you know how quickly you can stop if needed, and you should also drive more defensively once you get on the road.
You should leave no less than three car-lengths’ worth of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Whenever possible, increase this distance to five car lengths.
4. Pass Only When Necessary
In your own car, you may pass slower vehicles without thinking twice. However, because moving trucks are both taller and heavier than personal vehicles, they cannot move side-to-side as suddenly without rocking or potentially tipping.
Pass only when you absolutely need to and be sure to check your blind spots carefully to ensure that you have enough room. Remember, you will not be able to see a vehicle driving directly alongside in your primary side mirror. Pay careful attention to the vehicles around you and check your angled side mirror before merging.
5. Practice Conscientious Parking
When you need to park your moving truck, whether to switch drivers or turn in for the night, park conscientiously. Look for spots where you can pull through so that your truck can sit fully within the space allotted rather than sticking and so that you don’t have to back out.
Additionally, look for spaces in well-lit areas that you should be able to see easily while you’re outside the truck. Some would-be thieves or vandals see unattended moving vans as easy targets. When leaving the truck overnight, padlock the cargo area and lock up the cab.
Once you find a space, engage the parking brake before exiting the vehicle.
6. Take Stretching Breaks
While it may not feel like you’re doing much when you sit behind the wheel, driving can be strenuous and exhausting. Pay attention to the signals you get from your body and avoid pushing your limits.
Take a break if you begin to feel drowsy, confused, disoriented or physically uncomfortable. As much as possible, incorporate stretching breaks into your route to keep your reflexes sharp and your body limber.
Use these guidelines to give yourself peace of mind as you transport your family and your belongings from one home to another.
Not sure what size moving truck you need or how the size of your vehicle could affect driving and handling? Discuss your concerns with a team member at Elite Truck Rental. We help clients find the perfect vehicle for their transportation needs, from moving vans to 24-foot trucks.