Things to Consider Before You Rent a Large Moving Truck

Renting a truck is a popular, economical way to move that lets you set the schedule of your move yourself. But what else do you take on when you opt to be the person behind the wheel of your relocation effort Consider these items to help you decide whether you’ll be able to handle your moving truck.

Do you need a large truck?

You may look around your apartment and feel sure that you’ll need an entire fleet to move you out of your apartment, but before you decide, take a serious inventory of your belongings. This is a good time to do a serious purge of your things, especially if you’re making a long-distance move. You may have pieces of furniture, for instance, that you intend to replace. Your impending move might be a good time to dump these and get something you like better on the other end. Each large piece you can part with reduces the space you’ll need in your moving truck.

By the same token, don’t underestimate the size of your move. You don’t want to be nearly done with packing your truck and discover that all your stuff won’t fit. Generally accepted approximations for truck size are as follows:

  • One-bedroom, small apartment — 10-ft truck
  • Two-bedroom houseapartment — 15-ft truck
  • Three- to four-bedroom houseapartment — 20-ft truck
  • Five- to eight-bedroom house — 25-ft truck

What kind of a driver are you?

Are you a road warrior or a Sunday driver Driving a moving truck can require some steely nerves and vehicular moxie, especially if you’ll be driving in an urban area. Ask yourself how you feel about traffic, left turns and parking on a hill. Getting into a tense situation in your car can be a headache, but consider what bad weather, rush hour traffic and narrow streets would be like in a large truck with a full load.

Consider the areas you will be driving the truck in and out of, and how you’ll feel about being the one at the wheel. Most truck rental companies offer automatic transmissions on their vehicles; make sure you inquire about this question in advance so you don’t end up with a manual-drive surprise when you go to pick up the truck for moving day. Another option is a self-service move, where you pack the moving truck yourself, but a professional driver tackles the actual driving.

How much help do you have? So, before you opt for renting the biggest rental truck in a fleet, ask yourself if you have the person-power to cover a large move; you may not want to actually do it all yourself. Remember you’ll want to have help with the packing, which can seem like a marathon endeavor in itself. Time is money, and the clock will be running on your move every step of the way. Unless you’re a veteran truck driver, you’ll also want to have someone in the front seat with you to act as navigator and moral support.

Things to know about truck driving
Driving your truck has some major differences from your car.

Here are some things to prepare for:

  • Your rental truck will likely be wider and taller than any car you’ve driven, which will take getting used to. Be sure you know exactly how tall your truck is to help you navigate under marked minimum clearance areas. Proceed slowly under low bridges, tree limbs and building canopies.
  • As a truck driver, you’ll need to respond to road signs with truck instructions, such as lane restrictions.
  • Don’t ever pass on a curve or going uphill. You should also avoid using the passing lane on an interstate unless you have plenty of clearance.
  • Every time you park the truck, be sure to use the emergency brake. When parked with the truck facing uphill, turn the wheels away from the curb; when facing downhill, turn the wheels toward the curb.
  • Don’t ever tailgate while driving a truck. Your loaded vehicle can be up to 10 times heavier than any car on the road, so leave sufficient space (at least a car length) in between for you to stop. You’ll need to begin braking considerably sooner than you would in a car.
  • Your truck won’t have a direct rearview mirror, so you’ll need to adjust side mirrors to get a view of the cars behind and on either side of you.
  • Be cautious when pulling into fast-moving traffic, as a truck will take longer to accelerate. Likewise, be prepared to have a harder time accelerating uphill and slowing on the down grade.
  • A truck makes wide right turns. To avoid clipping curbs, begin your turn when a little more than half your vehicle has reached the turning point.
  • Do what you can to avoid backing up. Look for drive-through options to change direction, when possible.
  • Before you strike a deal with your nearest truck rental company, take a breath. If you’re the one who’ll be driving your moving truck, be sure it’s a challenge you’re up for!

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