6 Tips for Safely Driving a Rental Truck
Though, the thought of hopping behind the wheel and driving off may be nerve-wracking – especially if you’ve never driven one before. If you’re unsure about driving a rental truck, your best course of action may be to enlist the help of a family member or friend who is comfortable with driving such a large vehicle. However, if you don’t know someone with the necessary truck driving experience and you find yourself having to pilot the large rental truck, follow these tips for safe driving:
After you’ve secured your rental moving truck, your first task is to familiarize yourself with it. Hop in the driver’s seat and locate all the basic controls to learn how they work. This includes the windshield wipers, turn signals, exterior lights, parking brake, and climate and mirror controls. It’s also important that you determine where your blind spots are so you can act accordingly. Then, if necessary, make adjustments to the mirrors and the driver’s seat to make driving the truck more comfortable for you.
How the basic controls in the moving truck operate will likely be pretty self-explanatory. Though, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the moving truck agency you rented it from.
Load the cargo correctly
Before you drive off to your intended destination, you must ensure that your goods have been loaded into the back properly. There are two main reasons why correctly loading and securing items in the cargo area of a moving vehicle is so important:
- Unless you’ve secured your goods straps or properly arranged them, sudden braking or sharp turning can lead to the shifting of your items. Large furniture pieces or stacked moving boxes that haven’t been secured may topple over and lead to damage.
- If you don’t have a balanced load in the back – meaning the weight is evenly distributed – it’ll be much more difficult to maneuver the vehicle.
This may seem like a no-brainer but most mishaps and accidents that occur in large vehicles can be avoided by simply driving much slower than normal. Reduce your speed in harsh weather or poor road conditions and also when you’re navigating through curves, corners, narrow streets, high traffic spots, and parking lots and driveways. You should also go extra slow and stay on high-alert when you’re backing up.
Allow for enough space
When it comes to safe trailing distance, as a general rule of thumb, you should allow for an extra buffer than the traditional 2-second rule. Therefore, when you’re driving a large rental moving vehicle that is loaded with your household goods you should stay at least 4 seconds behind any vehicle that is directly in front of you. This helps to greatly minimize any risk of collision. Of course, in adverse weather conditions you may need to increase your distance ever further.
Brake early and carefully
When driving a moving truck, sudden acceleration is never recommended. Though, sudden braking may be even worse since it can cause your cargo to shift forward and result in damage to your items. Therefore, you should try to avoid braking too suddenly or hard – unless you are avoiding a road accident. When you slam on your brakes in a large rental truck, there’s also always the possibility that the vehicle gets put off-balance and you could lose control.
Only pass if necessary
Depending on the size of the rental truck, you might have to avoid passing vehicles when you’re driving uphill, or on a narrow street. Generally speaking, the larger the vehicle, the more distance and time that is require to overtake another car on the road. While there may be some instances where it is necessary to pass another vehicle, driving in the far right lane on the freeway will help to minimize the number of overtaking moves you have to make.
Driving a rental moving truck across the country is not an easy task. The experience may be rather stressful and overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had to do it before. If you’d rather not handle the job yourself, leave it to the experts! Contact us today to receive your FREE, no-obligation moving estimate and learn more about the personalized services that we offer.