Essential Tips for Driving a Moving Truck

Essential Tips for Driving a Moving Truck
by Arthur Williamson

Driving any vehicle, you should follow safe practices. However, when driving a large vehicle like a truck, you need to increase the caution level significantly. Moving trucks are loaded large vehicles and as such, you need to ensure you follow all the guidelines necessary for a smooth and uneventful journey. So, we talked to the experts, and this is what they recommend;

So you've decided to make a DIY move, or perhaps you're moving using a hybrid model and plan to hire labor-only movers. Either way, you're going to be driving the moving truck. While it might seem intimidating, I promise it's not too bad. Moving trucks are getting more and more beginner-friendly, so you need not worry! Here are some tips; 

  1. Plan To Drive Slow- Your Commute Just Got Longer

If you're making a long-distance move and driving a moving truck, your 10-hour drive just turned into 16 hours. While you can move pretty quickly with an empty truck, once you load it up with all of your belongings, you'll be lucky if you can get up to 55 mph on the freeway!

  1. Get The Additional Coverage

A friend of mine told me a story about a near-disaster while moving his 4-bedroom home. He hired labor-only movers and rented the moving truck himself. He opted to spend the extra $50 and get the additional insurance, and boy was he happy he did! His truck broke down and the company he rented from towed it all the way to his new home.

He asked the company representative what would've happened if he didn't get that added insurance, and the company rep told him he would've had to rent another truck, which would have cost him double the price he paid for the original truck, AND he would have paid double the cost for his hourly movers. Get the insurance; it could save you! 

Collin Flynn is the Co-Founder of UniMovers

  1. Do Not Overload Your Truck's Tires

One of the biggest hazards when it comes to driving a moving truck is overloading the vehicle's tires. Tires that are overloaded are at far greater risk of blowouts due to the downward pressure from the additional weight.  

All tires have a maximum load rating that can be found on the sidewall of the tire. A tire's load rating is denoted by the final two digits on the outside of the tire. These two digits are usually followed by a single letter.

These digits need to be checked against a tire load index to ascertain the maximum weight the tires can safely carry. Do not exceed this weight.

It's also useful to spread your weight as evenly as possible across a vehicle to avoid overloading a particular tire. Heavier items should be put in the middle of the vehicle where possible. 

Mike Skoropad, Owner and Chief Technician United Tires

  1. Have A Reliable Passenger

In my experience, the number one resource for successfully navigating a moving truck - have a reliable passenger. Your passenger is your navigator and an extra set of arms when moving heavy objects. It is possible to drive a moving truck solo, but you will be more efficient with a passenger to your right. Look at a map prior to hitting the road, and have an idea of how long it will take. Plan ahead for traffic or any other delays.

Daivat Dholakia, Director of Operations, Force by Mojio

  1. Tips to Avoid Road Accidents

As a former DHL driver, I know firsthand the importance of following the rules of the road. The same rules apply to moving trucks as they do to cars, but that doesn’t stop some people from pulling some sketchy moves and risking their own safety and the safety of others. 

To make sure you get the most out of your moving truck, here are 5 tips to help you avoid causing a traffic accident:

  • Obey all posted speed limits and change lanes safely. 
  • Never use your phone for texting, calling or checking maps while driving a moving truck, especially in heavy traffic or near children. 
  • Always check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or merging with traffic, and make sure your turn signals are on before you change lanes.
  • Avoid tailgating and braking too hard, especially when traffic is congested and fluid transitions are critical to maintaining the appropriate speed. 
  • Always stay alert and watch for cyclists and pedestrians that may move into the road without warning. 

These steps will help you make it safely from point A to point B and avoid causing any accidents along the way. 

Abby Ha, Head of Marketing, Cloom

  1. Go Slow And Steady

When operating a moving truck, the most important thing to keep in mind is to go slow and steady. Larger vehicles take more effort to get up to speed and to slow down. You don’t want to go fast and end up getting out of control. 

  1. Appropriate Distance From Other Vehicles

Allowing for plenty of space between the truck and the next vehicle in front of you is also very important. You need to stay at least two vehicle lengths behind to stop or slow down if there’s an accident or emergency.  

  1. Caution With Those Turns

Turning is another issue that many people struggle with when driving a moving truck. You never want to accelerate during a turn because that can cause a lot of momentum on a top-heavy vehicle and quickly put you out of control.  

  1. Keep A Low Gear Rather Than Brake

When the vehicle is fully loaded and headed downhill, you always want to keep the truck geared down rather than ride the brakes. This will prevent brake failure and increase your ability to keep the rig in control as you head downhill. 

Chaz Wyland, Founder SnowmobileHow

  1. Understand The Truck Components, Safety Equipment and Maneuvers

Driving a moving truck (Straight box style or Tractor-Trailer) requires the driver to understand the truck components, safety equipment, and maneuvers when operating the truck on the road. The Department of Transportation is strict and does not permit unsafe trucks on the roads.

Drivers must understand all common components that can fail and also have knowledge of the safety equipment in the case of emergencies. There is a pre-trip inspection that drivers should perform before each trip. If the vehicle is unsafe, the vehicle can not be operated until repairs are completed. Drivers should know the many components and functions that should be operative.

Components range from marker lights to brake chambers and inside with the window defroster. Spend time on the pre-trip because they should take the driver 30 minutes. Beginning early is the way to plan for success. The drivers should study the CDL learner's book (handed out from the MVA). To operate the truck on the road, always use every mirror. The mirrors will guide you to correct the position and direction on the road. 

They are great tools to prevent drivers from colliding with objects, people, and overheads. Use your mirrors as much as possible and be aware of blind spots. When backing up, a spotter is a great help to keep you from potential accidents. Safety is a top priority and that is why I mentioned using the mirrors. Too often, drivers assume that they can always see around the entire truck and this gets them in trouble. Consider safety and be many steps closer to success driving moving trucks.

Orville Wright has over 7 years of experience driving and repairing heavy-duty trucks.

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