Six Ways to Prevent Accidents and Other Issues When Driving a Moving Truck

If you've decided to rent a moving truck rather than hire a moving company, then you might have some concerns about driving it. After all, the average moving truck is a lot larger than your standard, everyday vehicle -- even if you drive a pickup. Here are a few tips to help ensure you (and your possessions) get to your destination safely.

Bring a friend along.

When you're focusing on driving a truck you're not used to, you don't want to also have to keep an eye out for street signs or figure out how far away your exit is. If you bring a passenger along with you, they can take care of some of these tasks so you can focus on the road. They can even help check the lanes next to you to ensure it's safe to merge. This can be a real help, since it takes a while to get used to the big mirrors on moving trucks.

Rent an automatic truck.

Even if you're used to driving a standard car, you should strongly consider renting an automatic moving truck. You may have no trouble juggling shifting and other driving activities in your car -- but you're used to your car. You're not used to driving a big moving truck, so the fewer aspects you need to think about, the better. With less distractions, you can focus more on safe driving practices like maintaining a good following distance and slowing down properly before intersections.

Look up (and look over) directions to your destination beforehand.

These days, many people don't even think about their route beforehand. They just climb in the car and plug the destination into their smartphone's GPS app. But, you don't want to have to swerve to make your exit at the last minute in a moving truck or find out that your GPS is taking you down a narrow road that's barely navigable in a large truck. Look up directions beforehand and review them closely so you have a basic idea of the route in your mind. This will help you avoid last-minute surprises that are tough to navigate with a big truck.

Load heavier items in the front of the truck.

If you place heavier items towards the front of the truck and lighter ones towards the back, you'll have an easier time maneuvering the truck around corners and bringing it to a stop. Some heavy items that should absolutely go in the front include sofas, wooden tables, and large appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers.

Stay in the right hand lane.

You're probably used to getting over into the left lane (or fast lane) in order to get to your destination faster. However, when you have a whole moving truck behind you, speed is not as important as keeping control of the vehicle. Stay in the right hand lane on the highway so that you can go the speed limit -- not above it -- without slowing others down. Going a little bit slower makes it easier to control the truck. Also, staying in the right lane prevents you from having to cut across traffic to get off your exit.

Ask for an operator's manual -- and read it.

You don't want to be rolling down the highway in a snowstorm when you realize you don't know where the wipers are, or trying to park on an incline when you're not sure where the parking brake is. Ask the moving truck rental company for an operator's manual, and look it over to be sure you know where everything is before you get in and drive. If you need help finding any of the truck's functions, the rental technician should be able to help. Make sure you ask any questions you have before you pull away.

Does the prospect of driving a moving truck leave you shaking in your boots? Remember, you can always hire a moving company, such as Bekins Van Lines Inc, to transport you items for you instead.