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Expert Tips on Safely Driving Moving Trucks

The arrival of summer also marks the start of the peak moving season. According to data compiled by several major moving companies, some 80% of moves in the United States occur between June and September. If you are one of the Americans planning to move this summer, expert instructors from Sage Truck Driving Schools have some tips on how to safely drive a rented moving truck.

“Whether you are moving across town or across the country, renting a moving truck is common because a commercial driving license (CDL) is not required to rent one,” said Nicholas Burlingame, School Director at Sage Truck Driving Schools in Endicott and long-time driving instructor. “The largest truck you can operate without a CDL must weigh less than 26,000 pounds. Rented moving trucks, also known as ‘box trucks’ are typically either 22, 24, or 26 feet long and generally haul a maximum of 8,000 pounds.”

Here are some safety tips from instructors at Sage Truck Driving Schools:

1. Familiarize yourself with the vehicle: Before hitting the road, take some time to familiarize yourself with the truck. Adjust the mirrors, seats, and steering wheel, and get a feel for the brakes and accelerator. Moving trucks may come with mirrors designed to fold in when parked. Be sure to check that the mirrors are extended and within your line of sight before starting your trip. If you need help adjusting the mirrors, ask the staff at the rental company to assist you.

2. Stay within the speed limit: Moving trucks are larger than regular passenger vehicles, making it more challenging to control speed. Make sure to stay within the speed limit and give yourself enough time to slow down if necessary. When driving a moving truck you will need to begin braking sooner than you normally would with the average vehicle.

3. Know the vehicle clearance: Check your vehicle’s height before leaving the moving truck pickup site. When driving, pay attention to the height restrictions for vehicles and be cautious of any obstacles such as low bridges or structures that may cause damage to the roof of your vehicle. When driving on private property, remain vigilant for low-hanging wires, carports, building awnings, drive-throughs, and ATMs.

4. Give yourself more time and space: Because moving trucks are larger and heavier than regular vehicles, it will take more time to accelerate and stop. So, make sure to give yourself plenty of buffer space when driving around other vehicles or approaching a stop sign or traffic signal.

5. Check blind spots: Since the size of a moving truck is significant, always remember to check the surrounding area before changing lanes or making turns. Check the side mirrors and use the turning signals when necessary. Avoid unnecessary lane changes, and travel in the ‘right lane’ or ‘slow lane’ whenever possible.

6. Take breaks when needed: Driving long distances can be tiring, so make sure to take breaks every couple of hours to rest and stretch.

7. Use a spotter: When backing up your moving truck, it’s crucial to take precautions to ensure that there are no hazards behind the vehicle. One way to do this is to get out and look behind the truck before backing up. If possible, use a spotter to assist you in navigating in reverse. This will provide an added layer of safety and help you avoid potential accidents, injury, or damage to the truck. Park cautiously and try to choose an easy-to-exit parking spot whenever possible.

8. Stay in control: Drive steadily and safely, especially when the truck is full of cargo. Take turns slowly and use caution at stop lights and when changing lanes.


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