If you are looking for cheap ways to move, you may consider renting a moving truck instead of hiring professional movers. To make a DIY move, you will have to do all the packing by yourself, rent a moving truck from a truck rental company, and drive the truck across the road to reach your new location. You will have to return the rental truck to the company and then go ahead unpacking your belongings. Also, if you don't have prior experience driving a moving truck, you may fear accidents that can even take away your sleep.
Driving a moving truck can be a challenging task for you due to its enormous size. The main idea is to drive carefully and keep an eye on your surroundings, which can help you learn to drive your rental truck quickly. To help you learn we have gathered a few important tips that will help you drive a moving truck efficiently.
How to drive a rental truck?
Tips to inspect a moving truck
Before you start driving a rental truck, we recommend you ensure the following steps:
- Checking the lights and signals to ensure they are working- Before you get into the moving truck, you should check if the headlights, brake lights, and the turn signals are working properly. You can ask someone to sit in the vehicle, turn the lights and indicators on and off while you walk towards the outside of the truck. By doing this you can ensure the safety of travelers on the road and save the expenses of a ticket.
- Investigate the tires to check if it is filled with sufficient air- Check the PSI sticker on the door next to the driver. If there isn’t a sticker, you can ask the truck rental company the PSI they would recommend for their tires. We suggest you check the air pressure of all the tires before you start driving a moving truck. First, you need to open the valve cap on the tire and then force the gauge on the valve stem. In this way, you can read the air pressure before putting the valve caps on.
- Check for damage both in the interior and exterior of the rental truck- Of course, you will not want to compensate for those damages which you haven't done. So, we recommend you carefully inspect the moving truck for any dents or scratches before you start driving the truck. It seems a good idea to click pictures of the damaged parts as proof that it happened even before you have rented it. Most importantly, ensure that the truck rental company has accepted your claim.
- Align the mirrors correctly- You will use the side mirror to view your surroundings, so ensure to angle it properly. Also, you need to adjust the blind spot mirror which is on the passenger’s side which will help you view the maximum space at the side of the truck. Lastly, you need to align the mirror on the driver's side as this would allow you to view the scene behind you.
- Check the gas level of the rental truck- We recommend you check the gas level of the moving truck and fill it up if you find it necessary. Many truck rental companies have the policy of charging an additional refueling fee in case you return the truck with a gas level lesser than at the time of picking it up from the company. You can click the picture of the gas gauge as proof so that you will not have to pay any extra charges. Ideally, a truck rental company should be able to tell you the gas mileage which will help you to determine how much fuel you might need for the complete journey.
Load the truck properly
It’s essential to use a moving blanket while packing furniture or other appliances and ensuring to properly load your items into the moving truck.
There are two important reasons for properly arranging your items in the cargo space of a moving truck, keeping it as secure as possible.
- In case you must apply an emergency brake, the household items which are loaded in the truck will move towards the back of the truck unless you have fastened it with ratchet straps or other arrangements. Piled-up boxes or big furniture can topple over because of a sharp turn which can cause you costly damage.
- If you don’t balance your items properly in the moving truck and keep heavy things only on one side, it would be difficult to manage the rental truck. Unfortunately, if you don’t load your belongings properly, road accidents might even occur, which is the last thing you might want to do.
Gradually reach the desired speed
The size and the weight of a moving truck will demand more time to achieve your desired speed. If you compare the acceleration and speed of your car with that of a rental truck, obviously it will feel slow and inactive.
If you are driving a rental truck for the first time, you should ensure the following:
- You should consider developing the desired speed gradually.
- Avoid accelerating extremely fast as this might increase the fuel consumption of the truck, shifting the cargo items towards the back.
- Unlike a racing car, the safety speed of a rental truck is electronically restricted to 75 mph in most cases.
Ensure to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles on the road
You need to always keep in mind that a cargo van will take more time than a normal vehicle to stop. So, you will be required to maintain a double distance from other vehicles on the road as compared to the distance you would have maintained when driving your car. If the weather is bad, you should increase the distance from other vehicles much more.
Don’t overtake other vehicles unless you find it necessary
You shouldn't overtake a car on a steep road or uphill. The enormous size, speed, and acceleration of rental trucks require more distance and time to manage the overtaking efficiently.
Alternatively, there are instances when you are on the correct path, yet there might be a few vehicles that will move even slower than you. In this case, you will have no option but to overtake those vehicles.
Try to be extra careful while you overtake a vehicle on the road. We don’t recommend overtaking because it can cause accidents.
- Examine the mirror of the cars on the other route.
- Indicate the beginning of the maneuver and then only tread on the gas.
Take wider turns than normal
While towing a trailer, if you need to make a wider turn, consider reducing your speed or even stopping the vehicle completely if the turn is tricky.
Be alert while parking a moving truck
You should apply the emergency brake each time you want to park your rental truck. Also, consider turning the wheels away from the edge facing both uphill and downhill. It seems a good idea to choose a well-lit area for parking your moving truck so that you can see it easily.
Decide the route in advance
If you are driving a rental truck across the country, you should take the following steps:
- First, download the GPS app on your smart device or use a specific GPS device to outline your route.
- Second, you can also use a comprehensive paper map to guide your path throughout the move.
- Third, try to avoid moving through the hill regions or even big cities in the peak hours.
- Last, if you need to rest overnight, consider finding budget hotels that can provide you with sufficient parking space for your moving truck.
Apart from all this, you should consider purchasing insurance from the truck rental company you have chosen and understand the different coverage options offered by them.
Driving a rental truck can be more stressful for you mostly when you are driving it for the first time. Now that you know what to expect from a moving truck, we would recommend you check all the practical options once again.