To those who have spent their lives driving compact cars and sedans, driving a moving truck looks about as easy as flying the Space Shuttle. If you’ve got enough stuff to move, however, finding a moving truck and hitting the road will definitely be on your apartment moving checklist. But don’t worry! Check out our beginner’s guide to driving a moving truck and you’ll get from Apartment A to Apartment B with far less stress.
Choose the Right Truck Size
If you’ve never driven a moving truck-sized vehicle before, you’ll want to keep your truck square-footage to a minimum. (Plus the smaller the truck, the lower the rental price.) If you’re moving locally and can make multiple moving trips, do so. You’ll save some cash and save yourself the stress of driving an enormous truck rather than a more manageable one. To figure out what kind of truck you need, start by making a home moving inventory and calculating how much space you’ll need for your belongings.
Know Your Route
Staring at a map and driving 14-foot moving truck are two things that should never mix. Familiarize yourself with your route before you leave so you can keep your eyes on the road. If you are directionally-challenged, invest in a GPS, drive with a friend, or use a smartphone app that voices turn-by-turn directions. Even if you’re just driving across town, it will pay to keep your attention on the truck’s handling rather than craning your neck to see street names.
Tips for Driving a Moving Truck
Ready to go? Before you start the engine, review these tips so you have a smoother drive.
- Check out your mirrors. Mirror placement on a large truck is different from that of a regular-sized car, so figure out where your blind spots are before you start.
- Locate all the controls first. Figure out where the controls are located for the truck’s turn signals, headlights, high beams, windshield wipers, hazard lights, and emergency brake.
- Drive the truck around the block first. Get a good idea of how it handles before you embark on your journey.
- Leave lots of extra room when you brake. Allow a minimum of a 3-second gap between your truck and the car in front of you.
- Know the clearance height of your truck. You’ll probably be fine under major highway bridges, but watch out for low-hanging branches, and overhangs in places like gas stations.
- Err on the side of caution. If you don’t feel entirely comfortable passing other cars or changing lanes at certain times, don’t do it!
Tips for Backing Up and Parking a Moving Truck
You have arrived at your new apartment at last! But now it’s time to park the truck, and that can be just as hazardous as the drive you’ve just completed if you’re not careful. While some apartments have spacious parking lots that making pulling up to the curb a breeze, just as many have cramped driveways or no parking lots at all. To account for any pre-parking panic, use these tips.
- Plan your escape. Before you even pull into your parking area, figure out how you’re going to exit when it’s time to go.
- Get some help. If you’re not confident in your ability to back up the truck, enlist the help of someone else as a spotter. If you’re alone, get out of the truck and scope out the area yourself.
- Always use the parking brake.
- Take it slow. Back up as slowly as you need to. Check your blind spots repeatedly. It’s better safe than sorry when driving a behemoth like a moving truck.