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What You Should Know About Driving a Moving Truck...
So you've decided to take matters into your own hands and move yourself. Congratulations! But, have you ever driven a big truck before? There are a few things to keep in mind before starting out on the road. Please read everything carefully because your safety is important to us! The most important thing to remember is that a truck needs more space and time to react than your personal vehicle does.
v 1st - When you arrive at the rental location, ask your truck rental dealer any questions you may have about your rental truck, and ask them to explain all insurance options to you. Before driving anywhere walk around your truck... check the lights & tires and make sure that your load is secure. Start the truck and check the breaks, horn, and mirrors... make sure that everything is working.
v TURNS - You will need to make slow wide turns. These are big truck and they do not have tight turning radiuses that you car does... You will need to make slow wide turns.
v CLEARANCE - Trucks are taller and wider than cars and need greater overhead and side clearance. Know how tall your truck is and be alert to bridges, underpasses, tree limbs, and canopies at gas stations, apartments, hotels, banks and drive-thru(s). As a general rule, moving trucks do not fit in a drive-thru. If you drive under bridges, underpasses or canopies check for height. If it is not marked, do not drive under it. Remember, these trucks are tall.
v STOPPING & PARKING - Trucks need more time and space to stop than cars. Brake early and don't tailgate... Give yourself plenty of room. Set the emergency brake every time you park. Turn the wheels away from the curb when parking with the truck faced uphill. When parking with the truck faced downhill, turn the wheels in toward the curb.
v BACKING UP - Always look for an area that provides "drive-through" parking spaces. Don't back up unless you have to. When necessary, have someone outside the truck to guide you (behind the truck on the driver's side). Unhitch anything you are towing before attempting to back up.
v Mirrors - Remember that things look farther away in the mirror then they really are. Most trucks have large rounded mirrors... these mirrors make judging distance nearly impossible. Drive carefully and be safe... give yourself plenty of room.
v Fuel - If you are driving a long distance with your rental truck, know the type of fuel required. If it is diesel or gas, you need to make sure you have sufficient fuel in the rental truck's fuel tank(s) to get you to the next outlet. Do not assume all gas stations pump diesel fuel. Keep the truck rental tank full when you see a station with the correct fuel. Return the rental truck with a full tank to avoid extra charges.
v SPEED BUMPS - Drive over speed bumps slowly, and avoid driving over curbs and other bumpy hazards. Driving slow over bumps will keep the back of the truck from bouncing and your load from shifting.
v GET TO KNOW YOUR TRUCK - Driving a truck will feel a bit different from driving a car so familiarize yourself with the truck before driving it. Adjust the seat and mirrors. Know the location of all controls gauges, and switches, including lights, turn signals, windshield wipers and the horn. Then, go for a test drive. You might want to start in an empty parking lot to get a feel for how the truck handles.
v OBEY ALL TRAFFIC LAWS - Remember to pay attention to road signs pertaining to trucks. This means stopping at weigh stations, as well as obeying truck or lane restriction signs and overhead clearance postings. Always use your turn signals, watch for speed control signs and control your speed, use headlights during day and night driving, change lanes and pass with care. Never pass on hills or curves. Buckle your seatbelt.
v KNOW YOUR COVERAGE - Make sure you understand how much coverage your current insurance policy covers for truck damage, bodily injury, and cargo damage. Policies often do not cover your truck rental as they do for car rentals. It is always wise to contact your auto insurance company about coverage prior to doing a cross country trip. Check and make sure that the rental truck is covered. Buying the insurance from the truck rental company is usually the best option, but not the cheapest. Rental agencies do not work well with insurance companies... usually you have to pay for the damages and get reimbursed from your insurance company. If you purchase their insurance, they file all the paperwork and deal with the problem themselves. The policy is worth peace of mind. "Better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it!"
v JUST IN CASE - Last thing you need is to be stranded on the side of a highway, 100 miles for anywhere, and no way to contact anyone. Bring plenty of drinking water & snacks, a good-working flash light & extra batteries, a cell phone & charger, several blankets if you are traveling in cold weather, a map or GPS unit, and a list of emergency numbers that you might need, including 24 hour road side assistance numbers. If you are traveling with kids or pets, make sure that you have enough previsions for everyone.
v FINALLY - Allow for plenty of time, get enough rest and stay on your toes. Long-distance driving can be tedious! Stay alert and awake. Stop every hour and walk around for a few minuets. This will help keep you awake... and above all, enjoy the drive because once you get there…it's time to unload and unpack!
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