How to Safely Drive a Rental Moving Truck

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Tips for Driving Rented Moving Trucks

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If you don't want to hire movers, you can rent a moving truck and transport your belongings yourself. That's all well and good, but do you know anything about driving a truck? Unlike commercial vehicles, you do not need a special license to drive a rental truck, but truthfully, there isn't a big difference between rentals and small tractor trailers. 

Moving trucks are not exactly sedans, so you can't expect to drive them the same way. Here are some tips to keep your moving trip safe.

Beware of blind spots

There are no rear-view mirrors on moving trucks. There is no back window to look through. You have to rely on the truck's large side-view mirrors to see behind you. This is especially important because you're very likely to spend some time on a congested highway for a long distance move.

When you first get into your rental, be sure to adjust both the side mirrors to get an optimal view. You will never be able to see directly behind the truck--that's why those warning stickers tell other drivers to stay back. Do not try to lean your head out of the window to see behind you, either--that's more dangerous than trusting your side-view mirrors.

Give yourself extra stopping distance

A moving truck is heavy, so once it gets some momentum, it is hard to stop. Keep a safe following distance from other vehicles and try to keep your speed down. It will take extra time for a moving truck to come to a complete stop, especially if it is filled with your belongings.

Measure your turns

A moving truck is bigger and boxier than you expect and can have a surprising turn radius. As soon as you get in the truck to drive it out of the rental lot, take note of how the truck handles. Rental truck drivers frequently bump into curbs, signs, buildings and other cars because the driver is not familiar with the vehicle's size or handling.

Don't waste gas

You are responsible for returning the rental truck with the same amount of gas it had when you picked it up. To avoid wasting gas, you should:
  • Plot out your trip
  • Avoid idling
  • Limit air conditioner use
  • Accelerate gradually
  • Try to maintain an 80 kilometres per hour pace

Park wisely

Most moving trucks are far too big to fit in a standard parking spot. It is not okay if the back of the truck is sticking halfway out of the space. If you plan your trip ahead of time, you can make sure that any stop you make, like hotels, has truck parking. Never attempt to back into any spot with a moving truck unless you have someone outside of the vehicle guiding you.

Know your height

Moving trucks are very tall vehicles and cannot fit under some bridges and overpasses. Take note of the height of your rental and remember to read the listed height restrictions on the roadways.


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on April 15, 2015

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