How to Drive a Moving Truck

Is it easy to drive a moving truck?

If you’re planning to rent a truck for an upcoming move, you’ll want to know some things — like how to drive one. Driving a moving truck might seem just like driving a passenger car, but there are some key differences to keep in mind due to the size of these vehicles.

Man driving behind the wheel of a moving truck.


Preparing for the drive

When moving day arrives, instead of just loading up your personal vehicle, you’ll have to go to the pickup location to get the rental truck (and trailer if you’re towing your personal car). Follow this checklist to make sure everything’s good to go with the equipment:

Examine the truck for damage

Walk the exterior of the truck to take note of any existing issues such as dents or scratches. Also check out the interior for any blemishes on the dashboard or tears in the seats. Many companies mark damages with stickers. Talk to the rental company about their damage policy before driving away so you won’t get charged for anything caused by a previous customer. Take photos of the truck with your phone for your records.

Familiarize yourself with the dashboard

Rental trucks have many of the same features as passenger cars, but things can be in different places than a personal vehicle. Before leaving the lot, make sure you know how to operate the truck.

Check the controls

Safety is important when driving any vehicle — especially a moving truck. Make sure the lights (interior and exterior), locks, air conditioning, heater, radio and any other features are in good working order before accepting the vehicle. It’s helpful to have a friend stand outside the truck to check the brake and signal lights.

Tips for driving a moving truck

Driving a moving truck may not be challenging if you’re used to driving an RV, but if you’re more comfortable with smaller cars, you’ll have some things to get used to. These tips can help you prepare for driving the larger vehicle:

  1. Use caution when backing up.
    Large trucks make backing up more challenging since you have more vehicle to maneuver.  Plus, moving trucks only have side mirrors — no rearview mirror — so don’t forget to check those blind spots before shifting into reverse! It may help to have someone stand outside of the truck to direct you.

  2. Allow more space on the road.
    When loaded with all your things, moving trucks are heavy. This means it will take the vehicle longer to stop. Keep this in mind while driving and allow plenty of space between the rental truck and other traffic to keep everyone safe.

  3. Be careful with turns.
    Longer vehicles take wider turns, especially right turns. Make sure to allow enough space to maneuver the truck so you don’t damage it or other property.

  4. Pull through parking spaces.
    If you can, find pull-through parking spaces when stopping since those are easier to navigate than regular spots.

  5. Keep belongings safe.
    When you stop to eat, get fuel or stay overnight, make sure to lock the driver and passenger doors as well as the cargo area of the moving truck. It’s best to park the truck within your line of sight if possible.


Special considerations with rental trucks

Here are more things to consider before driving a moving truck:

  • Insurance. Check with your home or car insurance company to see if your policy covers rental trucks and their contents before you hit the road.
  • Seating. Make sure there's enough room for everyone who needs to travel (or be prepared to drive separately).
  • Driving speed. You might be wondering how fast you can drive a U-haul truck or if your truck has a maximum speed. Check with the rental company to find out if the truck has a governor to limit speed or a top recommended speed before making your trip.
  • Weigh station stops. Some states require you to stop at weigh stations if you’re in a moving truck. Check out our guide to rental trucks and weighing stations for more information about the laws in each state.


Does driving a moving truck make you nervous?

No need to panic. Save the hassle and hire U-Pack® — a self-moving company that does the driving for you (for a price comparable to truck rental)!  

Compare rates with a free moving quote or call a helpful moving consultant at 844-362-5303844-594-3077. If you have any questions about driving a moving truck or moving with U-Pack, leave us a comment. We’re here to help!

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