If you've never driven a moving truck before, you might be a little apprehensive to drive your rented U-Haul. These trucks are designed with the knowledge that drivers with little truck-driving experience will be using them. They have large, ample mirrors, and they are generally rented to you with a user's guide and a set of instructions to ensure you drive safely. Still, it never hurts to be extra cautious. Following these tips will not only help keep you safe, but also give you peace of mind.
Rent an automatic truck, even if you know how to drive "stick."
Driving a manual U-Haul truck is not too different from driving a manual car, but it does give you one more thing to think about. If you rent an automatic U-Haul, you won't have to think about shifting gears, so you can pay more attention to turning and stopping carefully. It takes longer to stop a U-Haul truck than it does to stop a car or small SUV, so being extra aware of the road, so you can react quickly, is a good thing.
Remember to adjust the mirrors before you drive away.
This may seem like common sense, but in the hustle and bustle of moving, it's easy to get in and start driving away, not realizing that you cannot see a thing in your mirrors until you really need them. Adjust the mirrors in your U-Haul as soon as you climb in. Take your time to make sure you have the best view of the sides and back of the vehicle as possible. The truck is a lot larger than the car you're used to maneuvering, so you'll really have to depend on the mirrors to see where it is, especially when you're turning and backing up. Looking over your shoulder won't work in a U-Haul.
If you're moving a short distance, drive the route in your regular vehicle first.
Obviously, this is not an option if you're moving across the country or even 4 hours away. If you're just hauling your things across town, however, driving the exact route in your own car first can help make you more comfortable. You'll know to expect certain tight corners, traffic lights, and on-ramps, so they don't make you as nervous when you approach them in the U-Haul.
While you're pre-driving the route, keep your eyes open for any low overpasses. If you come across an overpass that you have even the slightest inkling may be too low for your U-Haul truck, re-structure your route to avoid it.
Load heavy items in the front of the truck to make it easier to maneuver.
No matter how the truck is loaded, you'll need to brake and turn sooner than you would in your normal car. However, you can minimize the space needed to brake and prepare for turns by placing all of your heaviest items near the front of the truck. This should include furniture and boxes of heavy items like books. Save the very back of the truck for things light items like linens and clothes.
Bring a second responsible adult driver with you.
When driving your U-Haul, it can be useful to have a second opinion. You might find yourself thinking "Is there enough space to back between those poles?" or "Can this truck fit down that street?" Having another adult driver ride along with you in the passenger seat gives you someone to bounce these questions off of, so you feel less nervous and ensure you arrive at good answers.
Once you drive Uhaul truck rentals for the first time, you will find it much easier and you won't be as nervous. Follow the safety tips above, and the experience should go smoothly. Happy moving!