When you're planning a move and want to adopt a do-it-yourself approach, you may find yourself renting a truck. Once you climb into the driver's seat and face the task of maneuvering the large vehicle, you might be asking what you just got yourself into. The reality is that you don't need to be intimidated by this vehicle -- sure, it's big, but with the right set of tips you'll have no problem getting from Point A to Point B safely. The big point to remember is that you're no longer in your personal vehicle -- and, as such, you'll have to drive slightly differently. Here are three tips to keep you safe when you're driving your rental truck.
Increase Your Following Distance
One of the most noticeable changes that you'll encounter upon driving a rental truck is that the distance it takes you to slow and stop the vehicle is considerably greater than when you're in a car. This means that it's important to increase your following distance when you're driving. The general safe-following distance for vehicles is three seconds, but it's beneficial to follow at an even greater distance when you're driving a truck. A loaded truck will take longer to stop than an empty truck, so keep this information in mind once you've loaded up your possessions and are traveling to your new home.
When you're backing up, it's easy to get into the habit of checking your side mirrors and recruiting the help of someone standing behind you. What you shouldn't overlook, however, is the position of the top of the truck. Don't make the mistake of focusing on your positioning at the expense of neglecting to watch for overhead hazards. Low-hanging tree branches and street signs can all pose a risk to the truck and the last thing you want to do is return the rental with a scratch or dent along the upper edge. Whenever you're backing up, make a point of first stopping and checking for overhead hazards.
Avoid Unnecessary Lane Changes
One of the challenges you'll encounter while driving a rental truck is dealing with blind spots when you're changing lanes. The structure of the truck means that you can't see your blind spots upon checking over your shoulder. As a result, you'll need to rely heavily on your mirrors to stay safe. It's also beneficial for the novice driver to avoid making unnecessary lane changes. Doing so can be precarious as you look for drivers in your blind spots, so it's best to stay in the right-hand lane as much as possible.
For more information, contact a company like Allard Rentals.