If you are determined to do a self-move then you will be faced with the huge challenge and responsibility of driving a moving truck. Contrary to what you might think, it will not feel just a “little” larger than your SUV. Nothing about these is modern or luxurious. The steering is not responsive, the brakes will feel completely different when it is empty and full, and you will have more blind spots than you’re probably prepared for, and that’s just for a small 10-foot truck! If you get a truck large enough to move home, the difficulty level will grow significantly. Below are tips that should help.
- Know Your Clearance – It is highly unlikely that you will be traveling under an overpass that will be too low for your moving truck, but it does not hurt to know the clearance. Besides, this will come in handy when you try to go through the drive-thru for a morning coffee and breakfast. You do not want to start the day damaging a building!
- Use a Spotter – Trying to back in a driveway or park in a parking lot is not easy to do. There is no back window, so you can’t see directly behind you. Ideally, you will have someone with you who will get out and give you hand signals. If you are alone, you might need to park and jump out a few times. When you park a moving truck you also need to make sure you leave room for the ramp.
- Use Your Signal – If you are one of those people who expect others to read your mind on the road, you will need to make an exception when driving a moving truck. You also have to use a blinker and don’t just flip it on as you are in the process of changing lanes. Give others around you time to react, in case you can’t see them.
- Wear Your Safety Belt – Hopefully, no one has to tell you to wear your safety belt, but here is a gentle reminder anyway!
- Don’t Get Distracted – Talking on the phone or texting is absolutely not acceptable when trying to drive a moving truck. You really do not want your nose buried in a map or reading directions either, so a passenger can be helpful. However, do not get so involved in a conversation with your passenger that you allow yourself to become distracted. It is also a good idea to keep the radio turned down. You want to be able to hear another car honking at you if you start to merge into their lane without seeing them.
- Be Alert – You do not want to drive a moving truck if you are so tired your vision is blurred or you are starting to nod off. If you are driving a long distance, pull into a rest area, if you get tired. If you are taking medications you need to know their effects. If you stopped buying cough medicine for your scratchy throat make sure you know if it is going to make you sleepy.
- Plan Your Route – Driving a moving truck is hard enough without trying to determine which way to go on a map. Highlight your route and write down special notes, if needed. If you have voice-guided GPS on your phone or a portable GPS unit you can use this. Make sure you know where gas stations are and stop to fill up long before you get low. You do not want to be the person stuck on the side of the road in the dark with a truck full of belongings simply because you didn’t feel like exiting the highway to fill up.