When you’re conducting a do-it-yourself move, you’re taking a lot on your shoulders and one of the more challenging aspects can be driving a large moving truck over a long distance after you’ve packed and loaded all your belongings. Most people don’t have much experience driving larger trucks loaded with that much weight so it’s important to keep in mind some best practices when operating a larger and heavier vehicle than normal.
Before you’ve even loaded the truck, it’s a good idea to take it for a spin around city streets and briefly on the highway so that you have some familiarity with how it handles before it’s packed with everything you own. Bear in mind that it will be much heavier when it’s full so treat this test drive as though the vehicle is much heavier than it actually is, which takes us to our second tip.
Due to the extra size and weight of a rented moving truck, you should be very cautious about speeding up, slowing down, and braking. It will take more time to execute all of these common aspects of driving and it’s one of the hardest things to keep in mind over the course of a long drive. Speeding up should be down gradually and you should keep more distance than usual between yourself and other vehicles on the road. By the same token, it will take more time to slow down and brake, so be sure to give yourself plenty of lead time when you know a stop is coming, or if you need to decelerate.
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Making turns in a moving truck can be tricky as well since they’ll require a wider space than you’re used to. Sharp and sudden turns should be avoided at all costs since you can risk breaking the items you’ve packed, or worse, the possibility of tipping the truck if you turn too sharply or suddenly. If you’re driving on city streets, try to stick to the outside lane so that wider turns won’t send you into neighboring lanes of traffic and cause an accident.
Backing up is one of the more challenging parts of operating a large truck and you should be extra careful when going in reverse. Be sure to move very slowly and make use of your mirrors to make sure you have plenty of clearance on all sides. If possible, have another person outside the vehicle to help guide you when backing up, particularly in a confined space like a city street or driveway. Keep your movements deliberate and slow when going in reverse and remember that any small adjustment of the steering wheel equates to a larger angle of movement on the back end of the vehicle.
Stay aware of overhead clearance limits when driving a rental truck, especially on highways and under overpasses. For most moving trucks, this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re driving a large or taller than normal truck, you definitely need to be aware of clearance. If you are unsure of the clearance level of the truck you’ve rented, contact the company and make sure that you’re aware of the limits.