Moving house can be an expensive exercise. Many of us are looking to save money wherever possible these days and moving house is no exception. One of the more popular ways of saving your hard-earned dollars is to forgo a removalist and do it yourself. Hiring a moving truck is easy, but driving a moving truck can be trickier.

Like so many of life’s challenges, preparation is key. That doesn’t mean spending hours poring over the vehicle’s manual. It simply means taking a little time to familiarise yourself with your moving truck’s controls, layout and characteristics. With a few tips, you can ease your nerves and focus on the bigger task at hand.

Keep yourself, your passengers and others on the road safe by reading on for the top tips related to moving truck hire.

The Dos of Driving a Moving Truck

Before you even get into your moving truck, take a good look at the outside of it first. Take photos of the bodywork and wheels. Ensure the door locking mechanisms are working and check the necessary spares are inside. Have a good look at the tyres being mindful of pressure that may be too low for the load you intend to carry.

Take note of which side of the vehicle the petrol cap is on and make sure you know which type of fuel to fill up with. Once in the vehicle take a photo of the petrol gauge reading before you set off.

A revelation to many people is that most vehicles have an arrow on the dashboard petrol gauge that tells you which side of the vehicle the cap is on. You may never have found this useful feature if you only tend to drive one vehicle. For moving truck hire or regular car hire, it can be invaluable.

Once in the vehicle, here’s a useful checklist. Before you set off:

  • Check the position of the seat to ensure you’re comfortable and can see properly
  • Adjust the wing mirrors and rearview mirror
  • Familiarise yourself with the indicators, headlights, handbrake and hazard lights
  • Check the aircon control, window operation and locking system

A key issue when hiring any vehicle can be understanding how to set up your smartphone with the audio system. Most people will want to do this to access google maps/GPS.

It can be useful to bring your own smartphone holder that you can clip onto the dashboard. They cost a few dollars but can save valuable time. Just stick your phone in the holder so that it’s at your eye line and off you go.

If you can, take a little time to practise a couple of manoeuvres before setting off for real. This could be in a car park at the car rental centre or a quiet nearby location.

Once you have familiarised yourself with your route and set off, take these extra precautions:

  • Always give yourself plenty of time, drive more slowly and be more cautious
  • Take wider turns than you would in a car so give yourself plenty of space
  • Always use the handbrake rather than relying on the clutch
  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Be meticulous in signalling so that others know what your intentions are
  • Take plenty of breaks so that you’re alert and relaxed
  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Be mindful of what’s around you by using your eyes and ears

You may need a special licence to drive some trucks. However, there are others that will offer you the space you need and that you can drive with a standard licence. Take the spacious 3-tonne Pantec truck, for example. You can drive these on a standard licence, and, if you rent through Betta Auto Hire, your moving truck will come with a rear hydraulic lifter at no extra charge.

The Don’ts of Driving a Moving Truck

  • Do not eat or drink while driving: they’re distractions
  • Do not allow yourself to take your eye off the ball so stay focused
  • Don’t forget to secure your load so that it doesn’t shift in transit
  • Don’t underestimate the size and weight of the truck
  • Never overload the driving truck
  • Do not tailgate or drive aggressively
  • Don’t make sudden, unexpected stops or turns
  • Never drive during a storm, especially on steep inclines or declines

Whatever vehicle you’re driving, it’s always wise to adjust your speed to the density of traffic on the roads.

When we drive a car, we tend to overuse clutch control when waiting to move off from an incline. Don’t do this when driving a moving truck. Make full use of the handbrake. It may take a couple of extra seconds but it’s far safer for you and others on the road.

Trucks are much taller than standard cars and you should always make extra effort to bear this in mind while driving. When figuring out your route, check for any low-clearance areas, particularly bridges or car park entrances.

Be mindful of overhead powerlines or branches from trees. Understand your truck’s height before setting off and inform yourself of any height limits on your route.

Reversing Your Moving Truck

This is perhaps the trickiest manoeuvre you may have to perform so take your time. The same rules apply as those for a car: “mirror, signal, manoeuvre”. If possible, get out of the moving truck before you reverse and have a good look at the surrounding area in case of hidden obstacles.

Some moving trucks do not have a central rear-view mirror. That means you’ll have to rely heavily on the side mirrors. If you can, get a passenger or even a passerby to help you. It’s well worth taking a little extra time to avoid any accidents.

Remember there’s a massive difference between making turns in a moving truck compared to a car. Trucks by definition are larger and require a wider berth. Bigger vehicles have bigger blind spots, so ensure you look around as much as possible and signal properly before you change lanes.

Sort Your Moving Truck Hire with Betta Auto Hire

We have a wide range of trucks available that you can drive away with a standard driver’s licence. Driving a moving truck means adding a little more time to your moving preparations.

Get familiar with the route and the controls and take it easy when you set off. Get in touch with Betta Auto Hire today for a quote for your moving truck hire.