Renting a moving truck is a great way to save money on your move, but it’s also a huge responsibility. Not only are you transporting your entire life on board a big, heavy and unfamiliar vehicle- you are also transporting yourself, and possibly your loved ones. This means your number one priority should be safety. You don’t need a special driver’s license to rent a moving truck, but certain precautions are in order, especially if you have never driven a truck before. Follow these 9 safety tips for driving a rental moving truck and to get yourself and all your stuff to your new home, safe and sound.
Inspecting the truck before you drive it off the lot is very important. Check the tires, the signals, the lights and mirrors to make sure the truck is in good shape. Also check for any damage to the truck’s interior or exterior so you don’t get blamed for it later.
- Safe Distance
Keeping a safe distance when driving a truck is even more important than when driving a car, because trucks are heavier and take longer to come to a complete stop. Keep at least double the distance you would keep if you were driving a car to be on the safe side.
- Bad Weather
Driving in bad weather calls for even greater distance between you and the cars in front of you. You should also slow down to about 10mph below the speed limit.
- Safe Loading
Every vehicle has a weight limit you must never exceed. Check the recommended GVWR and GAWR to know how much weight is safe to load onto your rental truck. For more tips on DIY packing and loading, visit this blog post.
- Safe Braking
If you get a flat tire or need to brake suddenly for any reason, don’t slam on the brakes. Slow the truck gradually and pull over safely. Braking too suddenly may lead you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Safe Turning
A truck needs much more space than a car when it comes to turning. Plan ahead and allow more space for wider turns.
- Safe Speed
When driving a truck you are generally expected to drive at about half the speed of a regular car. This is even more important for rental truck drivers who are not experienced at driving large, heavy vehicles. Go slow!
- Forget ETA’s
Your GPS will not estimate you travel time accurately unless it is set specifically for trucks. For example, if your travel time is estimated by Google Maps to be around two hours, it means a regular car would take that long to arrive. For a truck it would take twice as long, so plan for four hours of driving.
- Take Breaks
If you’re moving long distance, make sure not to drive more than 10 hours per shift. Professional truck drivers aren’t allowed to drive more than 11 hours a day- moving truck rental companies limit to 10 as a safety measure. Take as many breaks as you need to freshen up, with each break at least 30 minutes long after the first eight hours of driving. This will help keep your energy up and your senses sharp. Getting drowsy behind the wheel of a truck is a situation you need to avoid no matter what. These guidelines are in place for your own safety- don’t be a hero.
Drive safe! Happy moving!