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How To Drive A Moving Truck

February 5th, 2018 - 8:52 AM

What’s it like to drive a moving truck?

Have you ever driven an unfamiliar vehicle? Whether you’ve rented a car or borrowed one from a friend, you know how strange it can be to sit in the driver’s seat of a vehicle you haven’t been in before. With buttons in different places, some controls not working the same, and blind spots not being where you’re used to, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That feeling is magnified in a rental truck — the vehicle is bigger, the seat sits up higher, and all of your belongings are inside. Before choosing how to move, take a look at these tips for driving a moving truck.

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Checking the truck before the trip

A successful move with a rental truck starts by making sure it’s in good working condition. Inspect the truck for the following:

  • Dents, dings and damage —Note any damage on your contract so you aren’t held responsible for issues that were already there.
  • Tires — Make sure there is ample tread on the tires and that they seem in good working condition.
  • Brakes — Test the brakes to see if they’re in working order.
  • Lights — Have a friend stand outside while you check the headlights, brake lights and turn signals (both front and back).
  • Air conditioning/heat — Does the air temperature change correctly? Depending on the time of year, these can be really important for a long-distance move.
  • Radio/sound system — This one isn’t necessary for safety, but a drive across the country can get boring without music.

Tips for driving the moving truck

When the time comes to get behind the wheel, follow these tips:


  • Obey all road signs. Along with obeying the speed limit, pay attention to signs for trucks including weigh stations.
  • Keep a safe distance. Trucks require more room and time to stop than cars, so keep several car lengths between you and any vehicles in front of you.
  • Turn wide. Moving trucks are longer than normal personal vehicles, so they have a wider turning radius. Turn wide to avoid curbs or other objects.
  • Change lanes and pass with caution. Don’t pass on hills or curves, as they can slow the vehicle down and require more time to pass safely. Keep in mind that the truck is bigger than most vehicles, so you’ll need more room to switch lanes.
  • Stay off your phone.  While it’s wise to keep your phone charged in case of emergencies, avoid using it while driving. It can cause distractions and many states have laws preventing it.
  • Choose parking spots wisely. Look for spaces where you can pull-through instead of having to back out. Set the parking brake before getting out.
  • Keep the truck secure. Park in well-lit areas, if possible. Make sure you lock the passenger and cargo areas.
  • Use help when backing up. Rental trucks have more blind spots because there’s no rearview mirror, so it’s helpful to have a passenger help you when backing up. Check multiple times for people or objects and keep your windows down so you can hear outside noise.

Other tips for moving in a truck

  • Consider liability coverage. If there are any issues, you’ll be responsible for damage. Most personal auto policies do not cover rental trucks, so ask about coverage options just in case.
  • Drive with fuel in mind. Fuel in a rental truck can be expensive (get fuel cost estimates with our rental truck fuel calculator). Drive with fuel in mind with these fuel-saving tips.
  • Take care of pets and kids. Since car seats aren’t allowed in rental trucks and it’s not always safe (or permissible) to let pets travel in the cargo area, make a plan for family members and pets who can’t ride in the vehicle.

How to move without driving a truck

If you’re uneasy about driving a moving truck, don’t fret! You can move without having to drive — often for a price comparable to truck rental. U-Pack is a “you pack, we drive” company, so your belongings get delivered door to door and you don’t have to worry about driving the equipment.

Compare rates with a free moving quote or call a helpful moving consultant at 800-413-4799. If you have any questions about driving a moving truck or moving with U-Pack, leave us a comment. We’re here to help!

Additional resources

7 Things You Should Know about U-Haul® before Renting a Truck

Moving Trucks — Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to rent a U-Haul?