A few years ago when we got shiny new moving trucks, it gave us an opportunity to remind all of our movers about the best practices for manhandling a beastly motor vehicle. Make no mistake about it. Driving a moving truck is a real art form.
Most moving companies will steer you towards using a professional driver for good reason – it ain’t easy. Even if you’re just going a few miles, you have to be extremely careful because a moving truck handles nothing like a regular truck or car.
Still think it’s not that hard? Keep reading to learn more about what goes into driving a moving truck safely so that everything arrives in one piece.
Making (Wide) Turns
Going straight down the road with your entire house in the back of a truck is far easier than trying to turn without slinging everything around. How you load the moving truck will make a difference, but so will how you make a turn.
A monster 26’ long moving truck needs extra space to make turns. You must take it slow and estimate how wide the turn needs to be to avoid cutting the corner or scraping the side of the truck. Chances are you’ll jump a few curbs before getting the hang of it, so practice in a parking lot first.
Coming to a Stop
A lot of force and space is needed to stop a standard-size car that’s going full speed down a highway. If you took physics in school, you may already know that the heavier the vehicle is (or the faster it’s going) the more force and space you’ll need to come to a complete stop.
All that means is the way you’re used to stopping a normal car probably isn’t sufficient for a moving truck. Mathematical wizards have crunched the numbers to determine that a regular 4,000 pound vehicle going 65 MPH needs a total stopping distance of 316 feet. If that sounds like a lot consider that at 65 MPH you’re covering 95 feet per second. In a much heavier moving truck you’d need closer to 525 feet. Keep plenty of space between yourself and the vehicles ahead.
Going Up and Down Hills
One of the trickiest aspects of driving a moving truck is getting up and down hilly terrain. The issue is weight related. Hauling a heavy truck up an incline takes a fair amount of power. Going down the other side can get hairy since all that weight is now being pulled by gravity. You have to be careful to give it enough gas to get up the hill but know when to decelerate so you stay at a safe speed going downhill.
Gauging Your Clearance
In a regular vehicle, clearance is something you never have to think about. In a moving truck you have to watch out for overpasses, low power lines, trees and everything that else that spans a road overhead.
You have to know how tall your truck is and keep your eyes peeled for anything that could potentially lop the top. That means you have to not only pay attention to what’s in front, behind and beside you, but also what’s above you.
One other thing to take into account is the wind. In a tall, broadsided moving truck it doesn’t take much wind to create a sway. Pay attention to road signs that alert drivers of high winds. If it’s really breezy you may need to take a pit stop until the wind dies down.
Know Your Blind Spots
If you thought your daily driver had bad blind spots, driving a moving truck will change your mind. Like big rigs, the massive rear end of a moving truck creates huge blind spots along the side of the vehicle.
The side mirrors will become your new best friends. You’ll have to rely on them to see what’s behind you and beside you since there’s no rearview mirror. Before taking off down the road adjust both side mirrors so you have the greatest range of vision.
Speed Demons Have to Learn to Slow Down
Moving trucks may be one of the largest vehicles on the road, but they are far from the fastest. Just getting up to the speed limit can be a challenge depending on how much weight you’re hauling and what the terrain is like. Besides, barreling down the road at top speed is far from safe when you’re driving a moving truck. Plus, the harder you push the gas pedal the worse your mileage is going to be.
If you’re tasked with driving a moving truck settle in for a slow cruise. Stay in the far right lane, abide by the speed limit and resist the urge to keep up with smaller, quicker vehicles.
Would you rather avoid the stress, hassle and possible pitfalls of driving a moving truck on your own? Then let Square Cow Movers do it for you! Whether you’re moving across town or moving to Nashville from Denver our pros know how to wrangle a big truck. Call us today to find out more!